Pro-Life Pregnancy Help Centers Targeted by Pro-Abortion Wisconsin Legislators

By Barbara Lyons, executive director
Wisconsin Right to Life

Barbara Lyons

It is happening all over the country and has now hit Wisconsin — attacks on pro-life Pregnancy Help Centers. These agencies exist for a sole purpose — to help a pregnant woman sort through her problems and to present alternatives to abortion. In Wisconsin, thousands of women are assisted each year.

Legislation is being circulated in Madison by pro-abortion Rep. Elizabeth Coggs which would gravely impact our centers. The proposed bill would do the following [according to an analysis by the Legislative Reference Bureau]:

Bill prohibits a limited services pregnancy center from making or distributing an advertisement that contains an untrue or misleading statement related to the services the pregnancy center offers to clients or from making or distributing a misleading or untrue statement concerning the services the pregnancy center offers as part of plan not to perform those services. This bill defines a limited services pregnancy center as a pregnancy services center that does not directly provide or make referrals for abortions or emergency contraception to individuals seeking services at the pregnancy services center.

Under this bill, if a court finds that a limited services pregnancy center made or distributed an advertisement that contains an untrue or misleading statement or made or distributed a misleading or untrue statement concerning the services it offers as part of plan not to perform those services, the court may assess a forfeiture on the limited services pregnancy center, require the limited services pregnancy center to reimburse the attorney general or district attorney for the expenses of the investigation and prosecution, and issue an injunction that requires any of the following:

1. That the limited services pregnancy center pay for and distribute corrective advertising.

2. That the limited services pregnancy center post a notice that is readily visible to clients that states whether there is a licensed physician on staff at the center and whether the center offers abortions, emergency contraception, or referrals for abortions or emergency contraception.

3. Other relief that the court considers necessary to remedy the adverse effects on women seeking pregnancy−related services.

Fortunately, given the current makeup of the legislature, this bill will go nowhere. However, this is an ominous warning of what will occur if Governor Walker and our pro-life majorities in the state legislature are overturned. We can expect to see this and other pro-abortion legislation progressing swiftly through the legislature. That is why the upcoming recall and 2012 elections are so critical — many human lives are at stake.

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