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SEATTLE (LifeSiteNews) – Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson is backing down from an investigation into two faith-based, pro-life nonprofits after a lawsuit filed by the religious liberty law firm Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF).

Last year, Ferguson issued civil investigative demands seeking answers from Obria Group and Obria Medical Groups PNW ostensibly concerning potential violations of Washington’s Consumer Protection Act. ADF maintained that the investigation, which sought to look through documents dating back more than a decade, had nothing to do with any actual complaints or evidence of wrongdoing but was instead a fishing expedition motivated by the groups’ pro-life views. 

On November 30, ADF attorneys filed a lawsuit against Ferguson in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington, Tacoma Division, accusing his office of an illegal unconstitutional investigation into the groups’ privileged material and protected speech.

“The U.S. Constitution protects Obria Group and Obria Medical Groups PNW’s right to freely speak their beliefs, freely exercise their faith, freely associate with like-minded individuals and organizations, and continue to provide services in a caring and compassionate environment to women and men facing difficult pregnancy circumstances,” ADF senior counsel Tim Garrison said at the time. “Our clients have already expended exorbitant time and financial resources trying to comply with the unreasonable demands made by Washington’s attorney general and we urge the court to swiftly halt his unlawful actions.”

On May 23, Assistant Attorney General Heidi Anderson sent the pro-life groups’ attorneys a letter notifying them that Washington’s Consumer Protection Division “closed its investigation into the potential Consumer Protection Act violations set forth in the May 19, 2022 Civil Investigative Demands.” She added, “No further responses to the CIDs, or those issued to Obria’s vendors, are necessary,” and that “No inference should be drawn from the Division’s decision not to pursue litigation and to close its investigation.”

“No one should be investigated by the government simply because they hold views the government doesn’t like. We’re pleased Washington’s attorney general has ceased his unlawful investigation into our clients, and that Obria Group and Obria Medical Clinics PNW will be free to continue their life-saving work in the community,” ADF senior counsel Lincoln Wilson responded. “We look forward to a ruling from the court confirming that the attorney general unlawfully targeted and harassed these clinics because of their pro-life stance. The Constitution protects Obria medical clinics, and all other pro-life organizations, to freely speak their beliefs, exercise their faith, and continue compassionately serving women and couples facing difficult pregnancy circumstances.”

Despite labeling itself “pro-choice,” the abortion movement is notoriously hostile to any and all types of alternatives to abortion, from publicity campaigns to malign crisis pregnancy centers as “deceptive,” to attempt to strip medical licenses from pro-life doctors, to violence and threats against pregnancy centers that are less likely to be prosecuted than purported cases of anti-abortion violence.

Crisis pregnancy centers have long provided low-income women with a wide variety of services, including ultrasounds, basic medical care, adoption referrals, parenting classes, and children’s supplies, which help mitigate the fears and burdens that lead some to choose abortion. For that reason, they have long been a target of left-wing rage, with attacks often focusing on claims that they deceive women, both about abortion and about their own services. But the pro-life contentions most often derided as “misinformation” are in fact true, and accusations of self-misrepresentation typically refer to little more than the fact that ads for them appear in online searches for the term “abortion.”

Left-wing hostility to crisis pregnancy centers drastically intensified with the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe, which triggered the activation of numerous state laws that forced scores of Planned Parenthood facilities across the country to shut down. Crisis pregnancy centers became the targets of violence, vandalism, and threats. Meanwhile, politicians, including President Joe Biden, U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, and Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, have called for new limits on their funding, speech rights, and very existence.