Massachusetts progressive U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren has launched an effort to shut down every crisis pregnancy center in America, describing their counseling and care services as “torture.”
A key part of Warren’s plan is to pass legislation restricting the speech of these centers, and one of the co-sponsors of the legislation is New Hampshire Democrat U.S. Rep. Annie Kuster.
“In Massachusetts right now, those crisis pregnancy centers that are there to fool people who are looking for pregnancy termination help outnumber true abortion clinics by three to one,” Warren said Tuesday. “We need to shut them down here in Massachusetts and we need to shut them down all around the country.”
One of those centers, Pathways Pregnancy Care Center in Littleton, N.H. was recently vandalized, with the message “Fund Abortion, Abort God.” It was one of nearly 100 reported attacks on pro-life facilities across the country in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling overturning Roe v. Wade.
“Our role is to offer support to anyone who wants it,” Angel Marshall, executive director of Pathways, told NHJournal. “Not every woman considers abortion her one and only option. We cannot make that decision for her, and neither should anyone else. Women clearly understand that is an option. Rather than accept abortion as the only option, the better question is why would anyone discourage women from seeking the resources and support we have to offer?”
In testimony before Congress on Tuesday, Heidi Matzke, executive director of Alternatives Pregnancy Center in California, recounted an incident in which “a man approached our care center armed with a machete.
“We have been forced to hire 24-hour on-site security. We’ve had to reinforce doors and bulletproof our walls, and we stopped running our mobile clinic because of threats of violence,” Matzke said.
At least two pregnancy centers have been firebombed.
Despite the climate of violence, pro-abortion progressives in Congress have kept up their attacks. “You should not be able to torture a pregnant person like that,” Warren said of the centers, most of which provide basic medical services, religious counseling, and supplies like diapers and baby clothes.
Warren has introduced the Stop Anti-Abortion Disinformation (SAD) Act, which would give the Federal Trade Commission the power to regulate the speech of crisis pregnancy centers. The FTC could declare messages and marketing by the centers “disinformation” — the bill doesn’t define the term — and then fine these volunteer-run facilities $100,000.
“It’s hard to see how this wouldn’t entail either unconstitutional restrictions on activists’ free speech or some kind of highly-politicized body attempting to define ‘disinformation’ in biased ways,” writes Liz Wolfe at the libertarian magazine Reason.
Kuster declined to respond to requests for comment about the legislation or her support for it.
“When someone like Congresswoman Annie Kuster criticizes pregnancy resource centers, if one responds with statistics about how many women these centers materially help, one is talking past them,” said Shannon McGinley with Cornerstone Action. “Their criticism is precisely that these centers provide material help that does not include the death of babies.”
Two of Kuster’s potential GOP opponents in the 2nd Congressional District have also criticized the Democrat’s stance.
“These radical Democrats are in fact using the abortion issue to control women for profit and political gain while restricting the First Amendment rights of non-profit organizations that help thousands of women and their families every year,” said Lily Tang Williams. “The intent of this bill is disgusting and immoral.”
And Robert Burns, who said he is the “only pro-life candidate in this race,” called attacks on crisis pregnancy centers “abhorrent.”
“Instead of offering support in the face of this violent assault, Congresswoman Kuster is co-sponsoring radical legislation to destroy them. On this and so many other issues, she is deeply out of touch and on the wrong side of history.”