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WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Today, Mary Szoch, Director of the Center for Human Dignity at Family Research Council, submitted testimony on a bill (SB 835) in the Connecticut Senate that would unfairly target pro-life pregnancy centers under the guise of restricting deceptive advertising.
Mary Szoch stated:
"Connecticut SB 835, An Act Concerning Deceptive Advertising Practices of Limited Services Pregnancy Centers, masquerades as a bill preventing deceptive advertising. In reality, it is an attempt to silence Connecticut's pro-life pregnancy centers, in violation of their First Amendment rights. This bill also makes it harder for women who are unexpectedly pregnant to know what all their choices are, and it places the state in the position of promoting abortion over childbirth.
"Many generally applicable laws at the state and federal level already prevent deceptive advertising. What makes SB 835 unique is that it deliberately--and unjustly--singles out pro-life pregnancy centers as the only organizations required to prevent advertising they know 'or reasonably should know to be deceptive.' Nothing in the bill prevents abortion practices from engaging in deceptive advertising practices. For example, Planned Parenthood--whose very name implies that a pregnant woman visiting the clinic will receive balanced information regarding the resources available to her if she would like to parent--is not obligated in any way to clarify in their advertising that their core mission is expanding abortion. Pro-life pregnancy centers are targeted for one reason only--to stifle their speech.
"If this were just another deceptive advertising law, it would not target an ideologically unified group of service providers who take a position on one of the most controversial topics in the country. SB 835's vague wording 'whether by statement or omission' allows the state to decide which words a pro-life pregnancy center omitted. This is an intimidation practice with the prevention of pro-life speech as its goal. It is unconstitutional," said Szoch.
The testimony continued:
"There is no good reason to attack centers that have such a positive impact on society. Doing so places the state in the position of promoting abortion practices--who stand to profit from a woman's decision to have an abortion--above centers offering women the tools they need to choose life," Szoch concluded.
To read the full testimony, visit: https://downloads.frc.org/EF/EF21B13.pdf.