State Sen. Kevin Ranker, D-40th, is among 17 sponsors of SB 5274, which would regulate the operations of “pregnancy centers” maintained by pro-life groups that encourage women not to choose abortions. A similar proposal is HB 1366 in the House.
Pro-choice advocates contend that these centers masquerade as health clinics and promote their anti-abortion agenda to women who should be getting information about all their legal and medical options.
According to NARAL, a national pro-choice group, the bill:
- Requires the centers to disclose that they do not provide service or referrals for abortion or comprehensive birth control and that they do not provide medical care for pregnant women.
- Requires the centers to keep any medical information they collect private.
- Requires the centers to provide pregnancy test results immediately.
The groups operating these centers argue that they are now providing millions of dollars’ worth of pregnancy testing and counseling to women in need, and that the provisions of the bill create potentially threatening civil liability for them. Among other things, the bill authorizes civil suits from women who contend they were damaged by the center’s activities, and give courts the power to triple any actual damages awarded.