On June 13, 2022, Gov. Kathy Hochul signed the Pregnancy Center Report Law (PCRL) as Chapter 217 of the Laws of 2022.
The PCRL authorizes the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) to study the impact of pregnancy resource centers upon women’s timely access to “a comprehensive range of reproductive and sexual health care services.” Specifically, the PCRL permits the NYSDOH to request and receive information from pregnancy resource centers about government funding sources, affiliations, services provided, client demographics, professional staff, medical records, and more. In our memorandum of opposition to this legislation, New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms asserted that the bill was “best understood as an effort to weaponize New York government to harass a set of charitable organizations based upon their beliefs.” Some pregnancy centers have already received information requests from the NYSDOH pursuant to the PCRL; those requests are both intrusive and burdensome.
Thankfully, the PCRL does not contain any language empowering the state to punish pregnancy resource centers for noncompliance. Accordingly, NYCF hopes that pregnancy resource centers around the state will simply ignore any NYSDOH information requests that they receive. However, it is possible that the state could use existing laws in an effort to punish pregnancy resource centers that do not respond to its information requests. If that happens, NYCF wants to work with legal counsel and with pregnancy resource centers to sue the state. Recently, we wrote to pregnancy resource center leaders to ask about their willingness to serve as plaintiffs in such a lawsuit. While we are not eager to help launch a legal battle against the state, we will not simply stand by and watch if the state uses the legal system to attack pro-life organizations.