Washington State Abortion Advocates Attack Pregnancy Centers in New Bill
by Steven Ertelt
January 25, 2010
Olympia, WA (LifeNews.com) — Abortion advocates have opened up another line of attack on pregnancy centers that help women find positive alternatives — expanding their effort from Baltimore to Virginia to Washington state. A Washington legislative committee will hold a hearing Wednesday on a bill attacking pregnancy centers.
The bill "Concerning Limited Service Pregnancy Centers" (HB 2837/SB 6452) receives a hearing in the Senate Health and Long Term Care Committee on Wednesday morning.
NARAL Pro-Choice Washington and Planned Parenthood are pushing for new legislation that would place a "gag order" on the centers because they don’t push abortion on women.
The legislation would apply the Consumer Protection Act to religious non-profit organization and, as opponents say, would violate the pregnancy center’s rights of freedom of faith and conscience.
The idea is to define information pregnancy centers produce as not "medically and scientifically accurate" because women are told about physical, medical and mental health risks of abortion — risks abortion advocates deny.
Centers that violate the act would large penalties and fines that don’t apply to abortion centers.
Paula Cullen, a nurse who is the former director of Life Services of Spokane, a pregnancy support medical clinic likely affected by this legislation, plans to testify at Wednesday’s hearing.
She told LifeNews.com today that, at a time when the state is facing budget shortfalls and a busy legislative session pro-abortion groups are promoting a bill that could eliminate approximately $15 million worth of free services for women facing unplanned pregnancies.
Cullen said the Attorney General’s Office has estimated the bill will cost Washington taxpayers more than a half million over the next four years to enforce.
"This bill hurts pregnant women, plain and simple," Cullen said
"It will be critical for legislators to learn for themselves about the tremendous contribution of pregnancy centers in their districts. They will find that these entities have been serving their communities for years without complaint and play a critical role in providing a web of support to women facing unplanned pregnancies," she told LifeNews.com.
"This proposed regulation is not only unnecessary and unwarranted, but also a slap in the face to these charities that have been working so hard for so long," she added.
Cullen told LifeNews.com that pregnancy centers in Washington state served over 60,000 women at no charge last year, and provided free practical support and social services — such as baby/maternity clothing, pre-natal/parenting classes, diapers, etc. — for over 34,000 women.
She said they performed or provided over 20,000 free pregnant tests, medical professionals performed over 6,000 free ultrasound exams for the purpose of diagnosing pregnancies and confirming viable intrauterine pregnancies, and that 22 social service agencies in Washington state refer clients to pregnancy centers.
Dan Kennedy of Human Life of Washington has also condemned the bills.
"As the culture shifts to pro-life, Planned Parenthood and NARAL will not tolerate the loss of business," he said. "The terms ‘medically and scientifically accurate’ are a way around the truth, since these definitions have been corrupted by the government and medical associations."
House sponsors of the bill include Representatives Clibborn, Cody, Eddy, Kenney, Dickerson, Kessler, Nelson, Darneille, Goodman, Chase, Pedersen, Dunshee, Appleton, White, Jacks, Kagi, Springer, Pettigrew, Maxwell, Ericks, Moeller, Van De Wege, Hunt, Rolfes, Flannigan, Simpson.
Senate sponsors include Senators Tom, Kohl-Welles, Kline, McDermott, Marr, Keiser, Prentice, Ranker, Eide, and Pridemore.
ACTION: Contact your Washington state legislator at http://apps.leg.wa.gov/DistrictFinder/Default.aspx and urge a no vote on the bill.
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