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Pro-lifers warn blue state is waging two-pronged ‘attack’ to silence pregnancy resource centers

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Advocates for pro-life pregnancy resource centers (PRCs) in Massachusetts are pushing back against efforts from the blue state’s attorney general and Democratic state legislators that would regulate their advertising.

A measure labeled by its authors as an “Act to protect patient privacy and prevent unfair and deceptive advertising of pregnancy-related services,” has the support of the liberal state’s governor and top prosecutor, but pro-life advocates are calling the legislation a political “attack” on centers that don’t want to provide or recommend abortion services.

“This bill engages in blatant viewpoint discrimination. It targets the speech of pro-life PRCs while allowing free rein to abortion clinics,” a memo from the conservative nonprofit Massachusetts Family Institute (MFI) reads.

The measure, should it pass, would prohibit “deceptive” statements about pregnancy-related services, without defining which statements are “deceptive,” according to MFI.

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The measure would discriminate against pro-life viewpoints by applying only to PRCs, and not to abortion clinics, simply because PRCs do not provide abortions, make referrals for abortions, or provide emergency contraception, the group says. 

 PRCs outnumber Planned Parenthood clinics in the Bay State 2-to-1, pro-life advocates say.

The bill also institutes a $1,000 fine for every infraction at the discretion of the attorney general, who is tasked with judging whether a deceptive statement has been made.

Massachusetts Citizens for Life, another pro-life nonprofit operating in the state, says the bill corresponds with an effort from the attorney general’s office to diminish PRC efforts.

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Gov. Maura Healey, D-Mass.

In 2022, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, who is now governor, issued a “consumer warning” against PRCs, citing “complaints” from clients.

Massachusetts Citizens for Life filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for the specificity of those complaints. In May of this year, the group received a response from the attorney general’s office stating the records they provided “encompassed all of the complaints received by the AGO as of April 14, 2023,” the date they received the FOIA request.

Those records, according to group, consisted of three consumer complaints – with redacted dates – against three named PRCs.

“Notably absent were any records evidencing action taken by the [attorney general’s office] in response to these complaints,” the group claims.

“PRCs have been serving needy pregnant women in MA for some 40 years. In 2022 alone, they served 2,079 clients. In 40 years, they have served many thousands more,” Patricia D. Stewart, executive director of the group, told Fox News Digital.

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state house in Boston with skyscrapers, bridge behind it

“Three consumer complaints in 40 years attest the extraordinary safety record and client satisfaction with PRC policies and procedures.

“Three consumer complaints in 40 years give the lie to the pretext of supposed deception and unsafe practices that the consumer warning alleges,” said Stewart.

The three complaints included a claim that a PRC “falsified themselves as planned parenthood and made an appointment for abortion. They are anti-abortion.”

“They offer a service they don’t actually provide. There is a bail and switch happening and it is deceiving people when they are desperate,” another said. 

“They are a false business….they attacked me when I was there by bombarding me with reasons to keep my baby,” another claimed.

 MFI defines PRCs as “charitable pro-life organizations that seek to help pregnant and parenting women in difficult situations.”

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“The services that PRCs offer free of charge range from providing pregnancy tests and diagnostic ultrasounds, to pregnancy options counseling, parenting classes, and more. Nearly all PRCs provide donated baby supplies such as baby clothes, diapers, car seats, and other items. They rely on charitable donations and volunteers to help women in need. Centers offering medical services such as ultrasound and STD testing, employ trained and licensed medical professionals,” the group says. 

For her part, Massachusetts Attorney General Andrea Campbell has vowed to crack down on PRCs through a “Reproductive Justice Unit” in her office that will pursue civil or criminal charges against PRCs they deem as deceptive.

“It’s at the top of the list,” Campbell said, adding that the misinformation given out by crisis pregnancy centers is “just that: misinformation. And so we know there’s a role for us to play, and it’s… to take action.”

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