Massachusetts City Seeks to Compel Crisis Pregnancy Centers to Promote Abortion

We could have seen this coming from a mile away – without binoculars. Now that the Supreme Court has overturned Roe v. Wade, the pro-abortion crowd is doing whatever they can to ensure more women get abortions.

Democrats have been trying to use legislative means to enshrine abortion as federal law. But this isn’t the only step they are taking. They are also targeting pro-life organizations to try to impede their efforts to persuade women to keep their children.

Pro-abortion activists and politicians are now using the government to crack down on crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs) and other organizations to prevent them from providing an alternative to abortion for mothers with unexpected pregnancies. In Worcester, Massachusetts, the city council is mulling an ordinance that would compel crisis pregnancy centers to provide abortion referrals. The same is happening in other Massachusetts cities like Somerville, Easthampton, and Cambridge.

Worcester City Council member Thu Nguyen, who sponsored the proposal, claimed pregnancy centers are using deceptive means to convince mothers not to abort their babies.

“These center tactics include telling lies about abortions, birth control, sexual health; talking about religion when that’s not what you came for, and saying judgmental things about premarital sex, single parenting, queer folks and BIPOC folks,” he said during a July 19 meeting. “They use intimidation tactics as well as delaying medical health care. And this is where we need to take a stance.”

Nguyen argued that “If these centers aren’t deceptive, they have nothing to worry about.”

The council member did not go into specifics about the supposed “lies about abortions” and “intimidation tactics” these facilities are using.

Opponents of the measure argue that it is akin to compelling speech, which is a violation of the First Amendment. Council member Kathleen M. Toomey said the attorney general’s office should field complaints about deceptive practices.

“Here in Worcester, people have the right to free speech,” she said. “It’s not about abortion, it’s about free speech, and as a council, we need to honor free speech. I’m not going to take away an agency’s free speech. If they’re deceptively advertising, then the attorney general is the person to handle that issue.”

This is not the first time members of the pro-abortion lobby have advocated for forcing pregnancy centers to provide abortion referrals. Indeed, Amy G. Bryant wrote a piece for the AMA Journal of Ethics in which she argued that pregnancy centers are “unethical” in part because they do not refer mothers to abortion providers. She wrote:

CPCs, as a rule, not only discourage abortion but also refuse to provide referrals to abortion clinics, although they often provide “counseling” about “dangers associated with premarital sexual activity.” Women who visit CPCs typically do not realize that they are not in an abortion clinic and are surprised to find that abortion is not considered an option at these centers. As obstetrician-gynecologists, we have had several disgruntled patients come to us who were disappointed and felt deceived by the care that they had received at CPCs.

Connecticut passed legislation in 2021 granting the attorney general the power to impose fines against “limited services pregnancy centers” for “deceptive advertising practices.”

The Alliance Defending Freedom filed a lawsuit on behalf of Care Net challenging the law, which proponents have labeled as a “truth-in-advertising bill.”

The lawsuit argues:

“The First Amendment’s Free Speech Clause protects Care Net’s rights to speak, to publish speech, to be free from content and viewpoint discrimination to be free from unconstitutional conditions, to be free from vague laws allowing unbridled discretion, to be free from overbroad laws, to not speak, and to not publish speech. The First Amendment to the United States Constitution protects Care Net’s rights to operate, publish, speak, and not speak, in accordance with its religious beliefs.”

At the City Council meeting, Toomey also pointed out that “a lot of these agencies are faith-based” and that “there are laws protecting religious agencies.”

“They don’t have to provide abortion services,” she insisted.

The council ended up voting in favor of preparing a draft ordinance to mandate that CPCs “must either directly provide or provide referrals for abortions or emergency contraception.”

Progressives have made it abundantly clear that they view CPCs as a threat. This is no surprise. As the Washington Times noted, “Pro-life centers outnumber abortion clinics by an estimated ratio of 3-to-1, even in deep-blue Massachusetts.”

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) has been on the warpath against CPCs and intensified her rhetoric against them when it became clear that Roe was on its last legs. She proposed legislation in June to “stop anti-abortion disinformation by crisis pregnancy centers” by ordering the Federal Trade Commission to institute rules prohibiting “deceptive or misleading advertising related to the provision of abortion services.”

“Abortion is legal in Massachusetts up to 24 weeks of gestation and afterward to preserve the life or health of the mother and in cases of fatal fetal abnormalities,” according to the Washington Times.

This is only the beginning.

Now that states can decide their own policies regulating abortion, the far left has clearly placed CPCs in their crosshairs. Pro-abortion activists began carrying out firebombings and other acts of vandalism against buildings housing pro-life organizations. Democratic lawmakers have refused to condemn this violence.

This story is one of many illustrating why conservatives must protect crisis pregnancy centers. They have been instrumental in supporting mothers even after they have their children. This is something the hard left would rather we didn’t know. But the fact remains: CPCs are necessary and effective.


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