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Massachusetts city drops anti-pregnancy center ordinance… for now

by | Jul 25, 2023

By Bridget Sielicki 

A municipal ordinance that would compel the two pregnancy resource centers (PRCs) in Worcester, Massachusetts, to discuss abortion options has been dropped after the city solicitor and the city manager agreed the measure would be unenforceable.

In July 2022, the Worcester City Council voted 6-5 to authorize the city manager and the city solicitor to draft an ordinance requiring the city’s PRCs to “directly provide or provide referrals for abortions or emergency contraception.”

PRCs are known for giving pregnant women the resources and support they need to give birth to and parent their children, as well as providing pregnancy testing and/or STD testing along with various other services. Most will not provide abortion referrals. Because of this, they have been the target of abortion supporters, who frequently smear the resource centers as “fake clinics.”

As the Catholic Action League of Massachusetts noted in a news release, the ordinance would effectively force the closure of Clearway Clinic and Problem Pregnancy, the city’s two PRCs. Though the council members had directed that the ordinance be written, text messages disclosed between City Solicitor Michael Traynor and City Manager Eric Batista reveal both expressed “great reservations” about it.

“The options before the city are to draft a local ordinance that would likely be challenged, leaving the city exposed to potential fees and litigation, or an ordinance that provides no further protections for residents than state law currently does,” City Manager Eric Batista’s office said in a statement.

Catholic Action League also revealed that in a surprising twist, the city leaders were discouraged from following through on the ordinance by then-Attorney General Maura Healey. Healey was outspoken in her dislike of PRCs following the Supreme Court’s overturn of Roe v. Wade.

“Eric Batista, Michael Traynor, and the Councilors who opposed this repressive ordinance are to be commended for their fidelity to their oath of office, in the face of the hysterical lies and the totalitarian ambitions of the woke Council majority,” said Catholic Action League Executive Director C. J. Doyle.

“It is a glaring sign, however, of the manifest extremism and the patent unconstitutionality of this measure that even the Massachusetts Attorney General’s office, dominated in recent years by some of the most strident abortion proponents in Bay State history, is now advising against this profoundly problematic ordinance.”

Doyle continued, “The Worcester city councilors who voted for this ordinance knew that it would never pass constitutional muster nor survive judicial scrutiny. Their vote was a cynical exercise in pandering to their political base while appeasing one of the most powerful special interests in the Commonwealth—Planned Parenthood.”

Editor’s note. This appeared at Live Action News and is reposted with permission.