Connecticut abortion ‘gag rule’ challenged by pro-life center in federal lawsuit
A pro-life pregnancy centre in New London, Connecticut sued Attorney General William Tong in federal Court Tuesday. Tong challenged the state’s “gag” rule on what a 2021 law refers to as “limited pregnancy resource centres.” Tong claimed that such organizations may engage in “deceptive advertisement” by opposing abortion.
Care Net Pregnancy Resource Center of Southeastern Connecticut is challenging the state’s Public Act 21-17, which says: “No limited services pregnancy center, with the intent to perform a pregnancy-related service, shall make or disseminate … any statement concerning any pregnancy-related service or the provision of any pregnancy-related service that is deceptive, whether by statement or omission.”
Care Net argues that the law “targets prolife pregnancy centers by forcibly forcing them to conform with state-approved speech, or face punishment .”
According the Alliance Defending Freedom public-interest law firm representing Care Net and the Connecticut law, the attorney general would be able to declare that the group engaged in “deceptive advertisement” by promoting a prolife message to pregnant women. Care Net and other similar groups would have to either run “corrective advertising” as the state calls it or face lawsuits.
The ADF statement stated that abortion providers who do not offer obstetrical services or perform ultrasound procedures are exempted from the new law.
“Women who are unexpectedly pregnant should have access to life-affirming options and emotional support. She said that the law allowed the state attorney general to decide whether he likes what you are saying and, if not, he must “correct” it or be punished.
Ms. Harle stated, “The Supreme Court made it clear that it can’t target specific messages because it doesn’t like a certain viewpoint.” Care Net should be able to continue serving women in the southeastern Connecticut area .”
In August 2020,, the city of Hartford, Connecticut settled a lawsuit brought by Caring Families. This pro-life group from neighboring Willamantic, which operates a mobile clinic at Hartford, was a proponent of abortion. That suit concerned a 2017 city ordinance highly similar to Public Act 21-17.
The Hartford measure also prohibited “deceptive advertisement” by pro-life groups and required staff to disclose to clients if they held medical licenses. Alliance Defending Freedom represented Caring Families in Hartford, and Hartford acknowledged that the measure didn’t apply to the mobile facility.
Writings in the Connecticut Post last Month, Democratic state senator Christine Palm thanked NARAL Pro-Choice Connecticut (and Planned Parenthood) for their cooperation with legislators to adopt the measure currently being challenged in federal court. Ms. Palm said, “It’s another illustration of the power state legislatures have to protect the rights for all citizens.”
The lawsuit was filed in the federal district court for Connecticut, ADF said.