SALEM, OR, April 12, 2013 (LifeSiteNews) – A Planned Parenthood-backed bill aimed at marginalizing crisis pregnancy centers is advancing through the Oregon legislature.
The bill, SB 490 (PDF) was introduced by Planned Parenthood Advocates of Oregon. If passed, it would require crisis pregnancy centers to post highly visible notices at clinic entrances and on websites and advertisements stating explicitly whether abortions and contraceptives are provided by the clinic. Most crisis pregnancy centers offer information about both, but do not actually provide them because of their religious beliefs.
SB 490 also requires medical professionals to be paid for their services, effectively banning pro-bono work by physicians and nurses who wish to help pregnant women and their babies on their own time.
Similar city laws in Baltimore and New York City have been struck down in federal courts as an unconstitutional violation of the First Amendment.
A work session was held April 1 to discuss the future of the bill. During the hearing, Dr. Claire King, a physician who volunteers her services at the Hope Pregnancy Clinic in Salem, spoke against the legislation. “See this bill for what it truly is,” she said. “It is a restriction. It is a hindrance. It is not a help to excellent patient care.”
Beverly Anderson, executive director of the Lane Pregnancy Resource Center in Eugene, said the bill was simply a gratuitous attack on alternatives to abortion in a state where the procedure is totally unrestricted.
“The only compelling interest behind the bill is Planned Parenthood’s desire to stop pregnancy centers from voicing an opinion different from their own,” she told legislators.
Oregon is the most abortion-friendly state in the nation, the only state out of 50 that does not restrict the procedure.
While Planned Parenthood is trying to force the legislature to silence its limited pro-life competition, the legislature is simultaneously advancing House Concurrent Resolution 6, which celebrates the 40th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion and calls easy access to abortion “vital to women’s health and well-being.”
No action has yet been taken on either SB 490 or HCR 6, but supporters of abortion-on-demand are hopeful that the Democrat-controlled legislature will soon pass both. If that happens, when women in Oregon face crisis pregnancies, it’s likely that the only place they’ll have to turn to is Planned Parenthood.