Friday, March 4, 2011

Pregnancy Center Bill Moves to House Floor

Earlier today, HB 1366, which would create significant, unconstitutional regulations for pro-life pregnancy resource centers, moved out of the House Rules Committee, clearing a significant hurdle in advance of the March 7 deadline. Several reports from Olympia are that the bill, which is the top legislative priority for Planned Parenthood and the National Abortion Rights Action League, could be voted on as early as this evening.

The bill would require pregnancy centers to post notices in five different languages on their front door, and on any written literature they create, stating that they do not provide or refer for abortion. No other entity of any kind in Washington State is required to post notices about the kind of services they do not provide.

The bill also provides regulations and liabilities regarding the handling of medical records and the administration of pregnancy tests which numerous medical professionals have objected to because it creates a different set of regulations and liabilities based solely on the fact that the services they are providing are being provided in a pregnancy resource centers.

Centers that violate any provision of the bill would be subject to injunctions and lawsuits.

Opponents of the bill claim the bill targets them because they are pro-life. This argument is strengthened by the fact that any pregnancy resource center could avoid every regulation and liability in the bill simply by agreeing to refer for abortion. Therefore, by definition, it is impossible for this bill to apply to a center that provides or refers for abortions.

In January, a U.S. Federal Court in Maryland threw out a similar law finding it to be unconstitutional compelled speech and unconstitutionally viewpoint based. A similar bill in the Washington State Senate failed to make it out of committee.

You are encouraged to contact your legislators through the legislative hotline at 1-800-562-6000 and ask them to oppose HB 1366. This number will allow you to communicate with your legislators even if you don’t know who they are by providing your address

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