Note: The following is the Colorado Catholic Conference’s testimony given in opposition to SB23-190 in House Judiciary Committee on March 28, 2023.
The Colorado Catholic Conference opposes SB23-190, “Deceptive Trade Practice Pregnancy-related Service.”
We are thankful for the Senate for removing vague language regarding Pregnancy Resource Centers’ “direct or indirect” abortion advertising.
But striking “directly or indirectly” still does not clarify what specific advertisement may be restricted, which could negatively impact the good work over 51 pregnancy centers do for our community, including prenatal and postnatal material resources, counseling, healthcare, and assistance for the entire family.
Not being specific on what advertising is restricted could violate pregnancy centers’ beliefs, rather than ban false advertising. The legislative declaration of the bill already expresses state discrimination, as it demonizes pregnancy centers for trying to “persuad[e] people that adoption or parenting is a better option” than abortion.
Abortion centers are not held to the same standard in describing the practice and complications that occur in chemical and surgical abortion. By the standards of the bill, many abortion facilities effectively advertise that abortion is a woman’s only option in an unexpected pregnancy by not providing many of the resources that pregnancy centers do.
A fair presentation of this bill would list the specific advertising that is to be restricted by pregnancy centers AND abortion centers – and the application of the restriction must be applied equally to pregnancy centers and abortion centers.
Singling out pregnancy centers violates strict scrutiny of the First Amendment, which has a long history of being reinforced by the U.S. Supreme Court. In 2018, National Institute of Family and Life Advocates v. Becerra forbade a state from compelling pregnancy centers to make disclosures about abortion because it singles out the center for burdensome speech regulations.
Section 3 will ban abortion-pill reversal treatment and illegally restrains the First Amendment rights of those who educate women of the availability of abortion pill reversal. U.S. Supreme Court precedent dictates that a state cannot “suppress the dissemination of . . . truthful information about an entirely lawful activity” simply because it is “fearful of that information’s effect upon its disseminators and its recipients.” (Virginia State Bd. of Pharmacy v. Virginia Citizens Consumer Council, (1976).)
Pro-abortion lawmakers’ distain of Abortion Pill Reversal should not be used to restrict a physicians’ ability and right to provide this type of care. It is also, ironically, anti-choice to deny a woman the “fundamental right” to save the life of her child after taking the first abortion pill and “continue our pregnancy” – referencing RHEA.
SB 190 improperly inserts the state into the relationship between physicians and their patients.
Decisions about medical care belong within the sanctity of the patient-physician relationship, where physicians are guided by their ethical duty to act in the best interest of their patients and tailor recommendations about specific treatments and interventions to each patient’s unique circumstances. Those decisions are not up to the sponsors of this bill, pro-abortion members of this chamber, or pro-abortion lobby.
Abortion Pill Reversal treatment is progesterone – the “pro-gestation” hormone prescribed by a licensed medical provider to outcompete the life-ending effects of chemically induced abortion for the baby. Progesterone has been widely used by OB-GYNs for decades around the world to help mitigate the threat of a pregnancy loss, whether that be naturally in a miscarriage or electively in a chemical abortion. There are no known side effects for the baby and no adverse effects for the mom. Babies who have been born to mothers who have taken progesterone during pregnancy are healthy and strong.
On behalf of the Colorado bishops, we respectfully ask the committee to vote “NO” on SB 190.