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Mass Citizens for Life testifies that not only is bill attacking pregnancy resource centers in Massachusetts not justified, it is unconstitutional

by | Aug 14, 2023

Editor’s note. This appeared in the August issue of National Right to Life News. Please share this story and the remainder of the 42-page edition with your pro-life family and friends. If you have comments, please sent them to me at daveandrusko@gmail.com.

Editor’s note. The following is the testimony delivered July 24 to the Joint Committee on Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure in opposition to H.377/S. 174 by Patricia Stewart, executive director of Massachusetts Citizen for Life.

On April 11th this year, I requested public records from the office of the Attorney General of Massachusetts “that reflect or refer to complaints, accusations, dissatisfactions, or other concerns asserted at any time” against any of 41 identified pregnancy resource centers [PRCs] in Massachusetts.

On May 1st, I received the AGO’s [Attorney General’s Office’s] response, stating the records she was providing “encompassed all of the complaints received by the AGO as of April 14, 2023,” the date she received my request.

These records consist of:

  • 4 consumer complaints–with redacted dates–against 3 named PRCs and
  • 1 third-party complaint against 1 of the same 3 PRCs, dated 2017 from a Washington DC group, whose website promotes a Planned Parenthood blog.

Notably absent were any records evidencing action taken by the AGO in response to these complaints.

PRCs have been serving needy pregnant women in Massachusetts for some 39 years. In 2022 alone, they served 2079 clients. In 39 years, they have served many thousands more. 

Four consumer complaints in 39 years attest to the extraordinary safety record and client satisfaction with PRC policies and procedures. 

Four consumer complaints in 39 years give the lie to the pretext of presumed deception and unsafe practices that underlay H.377. 

In addition, this bill is facially unconstitutional. A due process principle deems a law void for vagueness if its prohibitions are not clearly defined. It demands that “laws give the person of ordinary intelligence a reasonable opportunity to know what is prohibited….” 

This bill does not define the prohibited “statement…that is deceptive…by statement or omission.” 

Webster’s Dictionary defines “deceptive” as “tending or having the power to deceive: misleading.”

Would a PRC advertisement that omits driving directions be considered “deceptive” to someone with no GPS access who got lost? Or, would omission of a “Closed on Sunday” notice be deemed to have “deceived” someone who attempted to visit a PRC on a Sunday?

With no defining parameters, the opportunities to offend are unknowable, and thus, unconstitutional.

H.377 is not about protecting women’s health; it is about protecting abortion providers’ profits by censoring and ultimately shutting down their only competition – the PRCs of Massachusetts, who work for free and offer women a true choice.

I respectfully request H.377 receive an unfavorable report.

Categories: State Legislation