A Connecticut pro-life center has challenged the ‘gag rule’ for abortion in a federal lawsuit
The Pro-Life Pregnancy Center in New London, Connecticut, sued Attorney General William Tong in federal court Tuesday, defying the state’s “no publication rule” on what a 2021 law calls “limited pregnancy resource centers,” alleging that such groups may exercise Misleading advertisements speak against abortion.
Southeast Connecticut’s Pregnancy Health Care Resource Center challenges the state Public Law 17-21, which says: “No pregnancy-related service center, with the intent to perform a pregnancy-related service, shall make or publish… any statement relating to any pregnancy-related service or the rendering of any pregnancy-related deceptive service, whether by statement or omission.”
Care Net says in its lawsuit that the law “targets pro-life pregnancy centers by forcing them to comply with state rhetoric or face punishment.”
According to Alliance Defending Freedom, a public interest law firm representing Care Net, Connecticut law would allow the attorney general to say the group engaged in “deceptive advertising” by promoting a pro-life message to women interested in their pregnancy. Care Net and similar groups will have to run what the state calls “corrective ads” or face lawsuits and fines.
The ADF statement said abortion providers who do not provide obstetric services or ultrasound procedures are exempt from the new law.
“Women who unexpectedly become pregnant should be empowered with life-affirming choices, emotional support, and practical resources,” said Dennis Harley, senior advisor at the ADF, in a statement. “This law allows the state attorney general to decide if he likes what you’re saying, and if he doesn’t like it, you should ‘correct’ or punish him,” she added.
Ms Harley said: “The Supreme Court has made it clear that the government cannot target certain messages because it does not like a particular point of view. Care Net should be free to continue serving women in southeastern Connecticut without government oversight.”
In August of 2020, the city of Hartford, Connecticut, settled a lawsuit brought by Caring Families, a pro-life pregnancy group in nearby Willamantic that operates a mobile clinic in Hartford. That lawsuit relates to a 2017 city law that is very similar to Public Law 21-17.
The Hartford procedure also banned what it called “deceptive advertising” by pro-life groups, and required individuals to disclose to clients whether or not they had medical licenses. Alliance Defending Freedom also represented Caring Families in the Hartford case, with Hartford acknowledging that the action did not apply to the mobile facility.
write in Connecticut Post Last month, Democratic Senator Kristin Palm praised Connecticut’s pro-choice NARAL and Planned Parenthood for working with lawmakers to pass the now contested measure in federal court. “It is yet another example of the power of state legislatures to protect the rights of all citizens,” Palm wrote.
The lawsuit Filed in Federal District Court for Connecticut, the ADF said.