Pro-life pregnancy centres in Hawaii have taken legal action to contest a law which would force them to provide advertising for the abortion industry.
Under Senate Bill 501, all centres that provide services like free pregnancy tests and ultrasound scans would be required to advertise that the “state of Hawaii provides free or low-cost access to comprehensive planning services”, which includes abortion.
A phone number and website address for these services would also be required and failure to do so could result in a fine of $500.
The Bill was signed into law by state Governor David Ige, but several pregnancy centres have now joined together to bring a federal lawsuit against the legislation.
The legal challenge is being led by Calvary Chapel Pearl Harbor’s “A Place for Women” pregnancy care centre. It is asking the US District Court for Hawaii to declare the law as unconstitutional and halt its enforcement.
The pregnancy centres state that such a requirement violates their beliefs and is the same as compelled speech.
‘Unjust government punishment’
Religious liberty organisation Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) is representing them in their case.
ADF Legal Counsel Elissa Graves said that American citizens should “always have the freedom to think and speak without fear of unjust government punishment”.
“Government is supposed to be freedom’s greatest protector, not its greatest threat”.
Graves added: “Freedom of speech also means the freedom to not express views that would violate one’s conscience. Yet, under this law, Hawaii is forcing pro-life centers and physicians to provide free advertising for the abortion industry against their conscience.”
Free speech violation
Earlier this year, another ADF case led to a preliminary injunction being placed on a similar Bill in Illinois which required pro-life doctors to advise patients on the ‘benefits’ of having an abortion.
Circuit Court Judge Eugene Doherty granted the injunction, noting that the Bill violated the free speech rights of pro-life medics by forcing them to comply with a state-sponsored pro-abortion message.