Under a law signed on Wednesday, pro-life pregnancy centers in Hawaii will be forced to tell patients about free abortions provided by the state.
And if they don’t, they could face fines up to $1,000 dollars for a repeated offense.
There are currently five pro-life centers in the state.
“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,” reads the mandatory notification the centers will have to provide patients with. “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.”
Some organizations and groups feel the law harms more than it helps, and that it corners women in difficult situations into thinking abortion may be the only way out.
“Hawaii's pregnancy help organizations are delivering caring, compassionate help for women and families at absolutely zero cost to the state's taxpayers,” said president of Heartbeat International Jor-El Godsey. “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 Alliance Defending Freedom is representing a pregnancy center on Oahu, as well as a network of other centers.
“Government is supposed to be freedom’s greatest protector, not its greatest threat,” said Elissa Graves, who is serving as legal counsel with ADF. “Americans should always have the freedom to think and speak without fear of unjust government punishment. 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. Because of the First Amendment’s protections, courts have repeatedly rejected these types of laws as unconstitutional.”
Another lawsuit filed earlier this week, Calvary Chapel Pearl Harbor v. Chin, would require a judge to declare the new law unconstitutional and force the state of Hawaii cease enforcing it.
The National Institute of Family and Life Advocates, as well as the A Place for Women Pregnancy Care Center, are also challenging the mandate according to Christian News.
Illinois passed a similar law recently, and California has had one since 2015.
The 9th Circuit Court, which encompasses both Hawaii and California, shot down an attempt to dislodge California’s version of the law in October of last year.
However, further action could go over the 9th Circuit Court, and up to the Supreme Court.