Friday, March 10, 2017

Hawaii Senate passes bill to force pro-life centers to refer for abortion

Some disturbing news from Hawaii on abortion:
Hawaii's Push for Pro-Lifers' Abortion Advertisement Passes Senate Vote

Sailing through the Democrat-controlled senate on a 22-3 tally, a Hawaiian bill that would force the state’s five pro-life pregnancy centers to advertise taxpayer-funded abortions was sent along to the house Tuesday in Honolulu.

Patterned along similar lines with a 2015 law in California that is likely headed to the U.S. Supreme Court as soon as this year, the Hawaiian senate bill (SB 501) was originally introduced with a parallel house bill, which was on hold as the senate bill went through.

Planned Parenthood Northwest and Hawai i— which is currently suing an Idaho pregnancy center over use of a shared parking lot — has been a vocal supporter of the legislation

“In its rush to appease Big Abortion, the Hawaii legislature is running roughshod over the First Amendment rights guaranteed to its own citizens,” Jor-El Godsey, president of Heartbeat International—an affiliation network that includes Hawaiian centers—said. “If the state can force its own people to violate their own deeply held religious convictions by advertising for abortions, then free speech and free religious exercise are effectively dead.”

Leaders at pro-life pregnancy help organizations on the islands—who receive no state funding whatsoever—had testified against the bill at an earlier senate hearing, but their written testimony was held back from the senate’s Ways and Means Committee ahead of its vote last week.

Pro-life advocates, including National Institute of Family and Life Advocates (NIFLA) vice president Anne O’Connor, said the breach of protocol ahead of the Ways and Means Committee vote indicated the state’s disregard for the First Amendment’s guarantee of citizens’ rights to “petition the government for a redress of grievances.”

Ironically, that breach underscores the law’s clear intent to trample on the First Amendment rights of free speech and free exercise of religion, O’Connor argued, calling the censorship—intentional or not—“mind-boggling in our democracy.”

The bill as it currently stands would threaten pregnancy centers with a $500 first-time penalty and a $1,000 penalty for future infractions, forcing them to post or disseminate the following notice to women seeking care at their facilities:

"This clinic does not provide abortion services or abortion referrals.  Only ultrasounds    performed by qualified healthcare professionals and read by licensed clinicians should be considered medically accurate.  Hawaii has public programs that provide immediate free or low-cost access to comprehensive family planning services including all FDA-approved methods of contraception, prenatal care, and abortion for eligible women.  To apply for medical insurance coverage that will cover the full range of family planning and prenatal care services, apply on-line at”
Read more here.

From another article on TheResurgent, NIFLA President Thomas Glessner (a Supreme Court-approved bar attorney) said, "The Hawaii effort to suppress free speech is especially concerning because one of the state’s pro-life centers is housed in a church — which means the church itself would be forced to refer for abortions. This is an egregious violation of religious freedom."

The Democratic Party holds all 25 seats in the Hawaii State Senate (the only state legislative chamber with no minority party).

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