Oregon Effort to Attack Pregnancy Centers Stopped, Pro-Life Win

State   Steven Ertelt   Apr 8, 2011   |   12:52PM    Salem, OR

The latest attempt to attack pregnancy centers that provide women with real help and abortion alternatives has failed in Oregon after a significant pro-life pushback.

Care Net, a national network of 1,130 pregnancy centers, celebrated the defeat of an Oregon bill that was designed to direct pregnant women away from pregnancy centers and toward abortion businesses. The bill, SB 769, was prompted by abortion advocacy groups that have launched a nationwide campaign against pregnancy centers that take away their business by providing tangible pregnancy support.

The bill was defeated Wednesday when a Senate Committee passed over the bill after hearing strong testimony from pregnancy center directors, former clients, and other advocates. Care Net President Melinda Delahoyde praised the Oregon legislators for refusing to lend support to the bill in comments to LifeNews.

“Care Net commends Oregon legislators for recognizing the truth about SB 769 — that it was a biased attack by one industry on its competition,” Delahoyde said. “Women in Oregon deserve to make their own choice of where they go for help with an unexpected pregnancy. This bill would have eliminated that choice and had the government pointing them solely to abortion providers.”

“Women whose lives were touched by the compassionate, caring work of pregnancy centers are speaking out. It’s difficult for anyone to argue with their stories and the powerful truth revealed about the sanctity of human life,” Delahoyde added. “In addition, Oregon pregnancy centers have a strong record of service to the state. In 2010, they received zero federal or state funding and provided more than $6 million dollars worth of free services to more than 45,000 women.”

“Care Net would like to thank everyone who came to the support of pregnancy centers in opposition to this bill — you made a difference,” she concluded.

The defeat follows on the heels of two lawsuits filed against New York City for passing a measure that attacks pregnancy centers. The city council approved the bill on a 39-9-1 vote and the ordinance that would place stringent limits on the advertising pregnancy centers use and require them to post signs designed to dissuade women from seeking their abortion alternatives services.

Alliance Defense Fund attorneys filed suit against the city over the law that the pro-life legal group says “threatens non-medical, pro-life pregnancy care centers with steep fines and potential closure if they don’t post signs and publish in their ads that the city health department encourages women to go elsewhere.” Also, officials with the American Center for Law and Justice filed a federal lawsuit challenging the ordinance. The ACLJ represents numerous crisis pregnancy centers and contends the law violates the U.S. Constitution as well as the New York State Constitution.

“Since this ordinance was first proposed, we have put the city council and the mayor on notice that it was unconstitutional and that we were prepared to challenge it immediately if passed.  We’re now moving forward with that challenge,” CeCe Heil, ACLJ Senior Counsel, told LifeNews.

“This measure is troubling because it violates crisis pregnancy centers’ First and Fourteenth Amendment rights, specifically protected by the constitution.  We are committed to protecting the rights of our clients and are urging the federal court to halt implementation of this ordinance and declare it unconstitutional.  Similar ordinances have already been struck down in federal court and we have no doubt that this ordinance will be rejected as well,” the attorney added.

The ACLJ represents EMC Frontline Pregnancy Centers and AAA Pregnancy Problems Center which operate a total of 13 crisis pregnancy centers across New York City. The pro-life legal group filed the lawsuit on their behalf in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.