On April 19, 2021, the Pregnancy Center Report Bill (Bill S.470-Hoylman/A.5499-Glick) was approved by the New York State Assembly Health Committee by a party-line vote of 19-7. Every Democrat serving on the committee supported the bill, while every Republican opposed it. The bill will now proceed to the Ways and Means Committee for further consideration.
New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms (NYCF) opposes the Pregnancy Center Report Bill. The legislation would authorize the New York State Department of Health to study and report on pro-life pregnancy centers. If this bill were passed, it would harm pro-life pregnancy centers across New York in several ways. First, the bill would allow the state to harass pregnancy centers with burdensome, time-consuming, and intrusive information requests. New York’s pregnancy centers have been down this road before; in 2002, then-New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer subpoenaed 24 pregnancy centers and demanded that they turn over a wide range of information, including the names of their employees.
Second, the Pregnancy Center Report Bill would likely be used by the state to pressure pregnancy centers to alter the way that they work. The 2002 Spitzer subpoena situation is instructive on this point; after his subpoenas were challenged in court, Spitzer withdrew them, but not before some pregnancy centers had agreed to changes in the messages that they communicated to their clients.
Third, whatever report is eventually written by the state in accordance with the Pregnancy Center Report Bill could be used as support for an effort to shut down pregnancy centers altogether.
Pro-life pregnancy centers do wonderful work. They encourage pregnant women to choose life; they provide peer counseling and practical support for mothers and babies; and they share the Gospel. While the efforts of pregnancy center staff and volunteers are greatly valued in the Christian community, they are a threat to Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers who enrich themselves by taking the lives of the unborn. To put it bluntly, effective pregnancy centers decrease the earnings of abortion providers. It is the responsibility of Christians throughout New York to protect our pregnancy centers. If we fail to do so, the abortion industry and its allies would love nothing better than to put them out of business.
Please contact your state legislators today and urge them to vote against the Pregnancy Center Report Bill.