By Erin Jobes
Thursday, a Hawaii federal district court, taking into account the decision in the Supreme Court case of NIFLA v. Becerra, abolished a law which forced pro-life pregnancy centers and churches to promote abortions and give referrals to state agencies. The court found the law was violating the first amendment right of free speech.
Hawaiian pro-life pregnancy centers, A Place for Women in Waipio, Calvary Chapel Pearl Harbor, along with five National Institute of Family and Life Advocates (NIFLA) affiliates challenged Senate Bill 501, or Act 200 as it was renamed.
The bill required life-affirming pregnancy centers, despite their beliefs, to refer women to state agencies for abortion services. This referral had to be achieved by posting large signs, or giving notice to their clients that Hawaii, “has public programs that provide immediate free or low-cost access to comprehensive family planning services,” AKA abortion services.
District Court Judge Derrick K. Watson and Hawaii Attorney General Doug Chin agreed that at the heart of the law, the requirement of abortion service promotion was unconstitutional. Watson carried that forth when he admonished the state from enforcing the law.
“Hawaii’s law was particularly egregious. Not only did it force pro-life pregnancy centers to promote abortion, it also compelled a church to promote abortion inside its building… The state of Hawaii has acknowledged that its attempt to force pro-life centers and churches to advertise its abortion agenda was unconstitutional. This case constitutes a major victory for free speech and freedom of religion.” stated Thomas Glessner, NIFLA President.
In response to the decision, Derald Skinner, Pastor of Calvary Chapel Pearl Harbor and President of A Place For Women In Waipio released the following statement:
“We’re grateful that the state has backed off its unconstitutional attack on our ministry. Our doors remain open and we continue to offer love, care, and compassion for all women and their precious little babies in our community.”