ACLU Backs Away From Congressional Abortion Bill Targeting Pregnancy Centers

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Apr 11, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

ACLU Backs Away From Congressional Abortion Bill Targeting Pregnancy Centers

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by Steven Ertelt Editor
April 11, 2006

Washington, DC ( — Shortly after announcing its support for Congressional legislation that would target crisis pregnancy centers, the ACLU has backed off of its support for the pro-abortion bill. The measure would threaten to shut down pregnancy centers that abortion advocates say deceive women because they don’t do abortions.

Sponsored by Rep. Carolyn Maloney, a New York Democrat, the bill directs the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to create a rule prohibiting pregnancy centers from trying to deceive women into thinking they perform abortions.

The ACLU, which frequently takes pro-life laws limiting abortion to court, immediately issued a press release supporting the bill.

However, the pro-abortion law firm is backing away from it after some ACLU activists said it would unconstitutionally limit the free speech rights of pregnancy centers.

The press release and any mention of the legislation, introduced March 30, have disappeared from the ACLU web site.

According to the New York Sun newspaper, some civil libertarians within the ACLU spoke out against its position on the bill.

"I find it quite appalling that the ACLU is actively supporting this," board member Wendy Kaminer told the Sun in an interview. "I think this is precisely the kind of legislation we should be opposing, not supporting."

"I am troubled by the assumption in the legislation that abortion services, as a matter of linguistics and a matter of law, cannot include discussing with a woman why she shouldn’t have an abortion," Kaminer said.

"I don’t believe the pro-choice movement has the copyright on the term ‘abortion services.’ That seems to me a very clear example of government being the language police," Kaminer told the Sun.

Several other board members told the Sun newspaper that they are reviewing the legislation to determine where it is constitutional and whether the ACLU could support it given its policies in favor of the First Amendment.

Maloney did not provide any examples of crisis pregnancy centers falsely advertising abortions when she filed her bill and three groups that represent thousands of pregnancy centers across the country called it an "old recycled" attempt to attack pregnancy centers.

"This is nothing more than a routine attack on pregnancy centers by organizations seeking to limit their competition," Care Net president Kurt Entsminger said in a statement provided to

"Our network of pregnancy centers are held to a high standard of integrity regarding truth and honesty in advertising," he added.