Washington Senate to Hear Anti-Pregnancy Center Bill Wed

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 28, 2011   |   6:15PM   |   Olympia, WA

On Wednesday, members of a Washington state Senate committee will hold a hearing on legislation attacking pregnancy centers that offer women abortion alternatives.

The legislation would create two classes of medical/pregnancy centers based on whether or not they provide abortions. It would require centers not doing abortions to disclose that fact in five different languages (English, Spanish, Chinese, Cambodian, and Laotian) in 30 point font notices they would be required to place on the front door of the centers, and on any advertisement or notice promoting the center’s services.

The bill also “creates a private cause of action (lawsuit) against pregnancy centers for violations of any of the above regulations,” saying the lawsuits can come from people who have never been to a pregnancy center, there is no need to prove damages to win the lawsuit, and those who sue a pregnancy center can collect legal fees from the center if they win while pregnancy centers cannot collect legal fees if they win a court decision.

The hearing comes after one this week in the Healthcare and Wellness Committee on the House side that was jammed with pro-life advocates upset the state legislature is trying to make it more difficult for pregnancy centers to provide practice help for women facing unplanned pregnancies.

Dan Kennedy, the head of Human Life of Washington, explains the situation.

“The efforts by the partnership of Planned Parenthood and Olympia Democrats to close down pregnancy resource centers in Washington continues in the Senate version of House bill HB 1366, SB 5274,” he says. “It is critical for the future of women and their children that these bills be defeated.”

Kennedy says abortion advocates are hoping to mitigate the impact of the onslaught of pro-life people making their views known to their state legislators.

“The abortion empire’s hope is that by holding the hearing at 8:00 a.m. in the morning, they can vastly reduce the number of supporters of pregnancy resource centers. We cannot let this happen. I know how difficult it is for all of you to make a second trip to Olympia, and Planned Parenthood knows as well,” he said. “Senators opposing this legislation are pleading for us to make every effort to show up for the Senate Health and Long-Term Care Committee meeting at the John A. Cherberg Bldg. Senate Hearing Room 4.”

As pro-life attorney Tom Glessner has explained, the legislation allows any “aggrieved” person to sue a pregnancy center for alleged violations even if the person has not been damaged by the center.

Kennedy agrees and says the bill must be defeated outright.

“This legislation will result in state-sponsored discrimination against non-profits that do not refer for abortion. Any attempts to amend this bill will not make it acceptable,” he explains.
Last year, the Senate Health and Long-Term Care Committee held a hearing on the bill but it never made it further than that. The bill, Senate Bill 6452, had the backing of pro-abortion groups like NARAL and Planned Parenthood, which loses abortion business when women find positive alternatives.