I am appalled at the recent legislation cosponsored by Sen. Karen Fraser and Reps. Chris Reykdal and Sam Hunt. Senate Bill 5274 and the almost identical House Bill 1366 are designed to eliminate Pregnancy Resource Centers in the state.
These bills would place preposterous restrictions on nonprofit, faith-based pregnancy centers solely on the basis of their philosophical orientation.
The pregnancy centers would be required to post what they don’t provide in 30-point font across their doors and walls, and all promotions would be similarly stigmatized by one-sided disclosure requirements.
In an ill-conceived move, the bill creates a special lawsuit privilege for any person or municipality if even one of the stifling disclosure requirements isn’t met.
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Plain and simple, this bill is intended to put these volunteer-driven organizations out of business through civil penalties and attorney fees.
In Washington last year, over 60,000 women were served by pregnancy centers.
Over 30,000 free pregnancy tests, STD/STI tests and ultrasounds were provided to clients statewide in addition to free diapers, formula and layettes with a value of nearly $20 million. These free services will disappear if this bill passes, and the state will be left to pick up the tab.
I find it incredibly ironic that the very legislators who will soon be voting for devastating cuts to the health care safety net have signed onto this proposal, creating yet another hole in the delivery of women’s health services.
How does this legislation protect women and preserve their choice?