HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Faith-based pregnancy centers in Hawaii are challenging a new state law in federal court, claiming it forces them to promote abortion.
Under Senate Bill 501, limited-service pregnancy centers must display the following written statement in clear viewing areas of the clinic:
"Hawaii has public programs that provide immediate free or low-cost access to comprehensive family planning services, including, but not limited to, all FDA-approved methods of contraception and pregnancy-related services for eligible women
To apply online for medical insurance coverage, that will cover the full range of family planning and prenatal services, go to mybenefits.hawaii.gov.
Only ultrasounds performed by qualified healthcare professionals and read by licensed clinicians should be considered medically accurate."
Supporters of the bill say it is intended to protect women by providing them fair and complete information on pregnancy options.
But opponents argue the law forces abortion promotion.
A lawsuit filed Wednesday by the Alliance Defending Freedom on behalf of two faith-based pregnancy centers on Oahu asks the U.S. District Court to deem the measure unconstitutional.
"For years, the abortion lobby has preyed on women and girls to generate profits," ADF Senior Counsel Kevin Theriot said. "Now pro-abortion politicians are trying to restrict women's options by requiring pregnancy care center employees, under threat of severe fines, to refer women to the abortion industry."
Calvary Chapel Pearl Harbor's "A Place for Women" pregnancy care center and the National Institute of Family and Life Advocates are behind the lawsuit.
"Freedom of speech also means the freedom to not express views that would violate one's conscience. Yet, under this law, Hawaii is forcing pro-life centers and physicians to provide free advertising for the abortion industry against their conscience," ADF Legal Counsel Elissa Graves said.
The bill was approved by the state Legislature on May 4, and became law on Wednesday.