Hawaii Under Investigation for Forcing Pro-Life Doctors, Pregnancy Centers to Advertise Abortion

| MAY 1, 2018 | 5:48 PM

Elvert Barnes/Wikimedia Commons

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is investigating the state of Hawaii for forcing pro-life doctors and pregnancy centers to promote the abortion industry.

According to a statement by the pro-life group Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), “the federal Church and Weldon amendments do not allow states which receive federal funding to compel medical personnel to operate contrary to their conscience or religious beliefs.” 

In addition to Hawaii, the ADF has called on HHS to investigate the state of Illinois for similar reasons. ADF has lawsuits pending in both states. In Illinois, courts have issued injunctions against its forced-advertising law.

“No one should be forced to provide free advertising for the abortion industry — least of all pro-life pregnancy centers,” ADF Legal Counsel Elissa Graves said in the statement. "Furthermore, the law simply doesn't allow it.

“States that require pro-life doctors and staff to act contrary to their conscience don't qualify for federal funds,” Graves continued. “HHS is right to take action in light of the obvious violations of the Church and Weldon amendments.”

Ben Schumin/Wikimedia Commons

In a letter to Graves dated April 10, HHS' Office for Civil Rights said:

Under Federal regulations, OCR is designated to receive complaints based on the Federal laws that protect conscience and prevent coercion, including the Weldon Amendment, the Coats-Snowe Amendment, and the Church Amendments. OCR has reviewed the Complaint and has determined that it has sufficient authority and cause to investigate the allegations under one of more of these laws.

Hawaii state law mandates pro-life pregnancy centers to refer women to a state agency that provides abortion referrals. 

According to the ADF statement, “the law requires pro-life pregnancy centers to post large signs or provide fliers which advertise that the 'state of Hawaii provides free or low-cost access to comprehensive planning services' — including abortion-inducing drugs — and they must also include both a website address and phone number for the scheduling of those services.”