Starting Wednesday, July 19th, Pro-life pregnancy centers in Hawaii have been given an option: advertise the state’s free abortions or face thousands in fines.
The Daily Signal reports, “Hawaii’s edict forces locally funded pregnancy centers to post and distribute to each client a notification that the state offers free abortions, as well as a website link on where and how to schedule a taxpayer-funded abortion.”
Hawaii’s pregnancy centers receive no state aid. Instead, they’re funded by local Christian churches. Jor-El Godsey, president of Heartbeat International, says, “Hawaii’s pregnancy help organizations are delivering caring, compassionate help for women and families at absolutely zero cost to the state’s taxpayers.”
Laws like these emphasize abortion as the main option, and they attempt to put pregnancy centers out of business. Godsey adds, “No woman should ever feel so alone or trapped that she feels abortion is her only option, but this is exactly the situation laws like these create.”
The law passed 41 to 10, and pro-lifers were not allowed a voice. Their testimony was withheld while the Hawaii Senate allowed testimony from pro-abortion lobbyists, including staff members at Planned Parenthood Northwest and Hawaii—a vocal supporter of the legislation, reports the Daily Signal.
Joy Wright, executive director at Malama Pregnancy Center, is disturbed by this and what it says about the legislative process.
“The fact that we did not have a voice in that decision is very concerning,” said. “Even if they’re for the bill, it’s very important that we have a voice. We are abiding by the process put together by the state Legislature, and so if it’s not followed through on the other side, then we have a problem that needs to be addressed.”
One lawmaker, state Rep. Bob McDermott, took a stand against the legislation on the House floor. He said the root of the issue was money. “These pregnancy centers offer the ultrasound … the young lady will not have the abortion—she won’t—and Planned Parenthood loses money.”
Three pro-life groups—National Institute of Family and Life Advocates, Alliance Defending Freedom, and the American Center for Law and Justice—are planning to challenge the law in state and federal courts. They’re “contending for free speech and free exercise of religion rights on behalf of the centers,” says the Signal.