Welcome to the Save Our Pregnancy Centers Blog! Please check back often for the latest updates on the battle to defeat House Bill 1366 & Senate Bill 5274, designed by the Washington abortion lobby to put non-profit, PRCs (Pregnancy Resource Centers) & PMCs (Pregnancy Medical Clinics) out of business.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Senate Committee Pulls Bill from Monday Agenda!

In surprise news this evening that excited pregnancy care center supporters, the Senate Committee on Health and Long-Term Care removed SB 5274 from its Monday executive session agenda.

Monday is the last day for bills to be voted out of committee for this legislative session, and so the decision by Committee Chair Karen Kaiser is being heralded as a victory for pro-lifers, not to mention supporters of fairness and the Constitution.

Senator Kaiser has not issued any statement accompanying the decision, but the interpretation is that at least one of the Democrats on the committee made it clear to her that she did not have the votes. The balance of power on the committee is 5-4 for the Democrats, so if all the Republicans vote no, a single Democrat dissenter can kill a bill.

Last year Senator Ed Murray, the openly homosexual legislator who was behind this state's controversial "gay rights" measures, actually came out against the bill, winning unusual support from pro-family activists. This year, however, all the Democratic senators on the committee, including Murray, are co-sponsors. Yet pregnancy center lobbyists have been working hard to educate committeemen like Murray, Craig Pridemore (Vancouver), and Steve Conway (Tacoma).

It seems some of that effort has been paying off.

Insiders caution that this isn't a full-out victory yet. The House bill, HB1366, could still emerge from the House Rules Committee, and pass a floor vote, in which case it would come to the Senate for consideration. If it does so, without significant amendment, it's not clear why the committee would take it up.

But anything is possible in Olympia.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Senate Bill Now Scheduled for Monday Afternoon Vote

We have just learned that Sen. Kaiser, the Committee chair, has scheduled SB 5274 for an executive session in the Senate Health and Long-Term Care Committee on Monday, February  21, at 1:30 P.M.

The hearing will be open to the public but not open to public comment. It will take place in the Senate Hearing Room #4, J.A. Cherberg Building, Olympia.

The balance of power in the Senate is much closer than in the House. There are 27 Democrats and 22 Republicans. Assuming all Republicans hold the line, adding Senator Jim Hargrove, a staunchly pro-life Democrat, that brings us to 26-23. Sen. McAuliffe has publicly withdrawn her support for the bill; if she holds to that, the count is at 25-24.

Your efforts could make all the difference. It's all hands on deck.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

HB1366 Passed Out of Committee, Virtually Unchanged

As expected this morning, Thursday February 10, the House Health & Wellness Committee passed House Bill 1366, on a near party-line vote, 6-4. All four Republicans on the committee voted no, and all six of the yes votes were Democrats. There was one representative who missed the vote.

Rep. Troy Kelley, who represents the 28th District, in Pierce County, happened to "go to the bathroom" during the vote on 1366, and only on that vote. The 28th has been swinging rightward in recent years, and he was the only Democrat on the committee who was not a co-sponsor. Consequently, it had been hoped that he would be a "no" vote, but in the end he chose not to be counted on either side.

Another disappointment was Rep. Kevin Van De Wege. He represents the 28th district in Jefferson County, on the northern Olympic Peninsula. Pregnancy Center representatives from his district have spent much time educating him on the issues, and seen some seemingly genuine effort on his part to deal honestly with the facts. Nevertheless, come time to vote this morning, it seems he either still failed to understand that Pregnancy Medical Clinics are already fully regulated by virtue of their licensed and regulated medical staff, or else he simply caved to the pressure from the abortion lobby, which has so much power within the Washington Democratic Party.

The Committee Chair, Eileen Cody, and one of the bill's main sponsors, Judy Clibborn, made some fanfare over the fact that they had "heard the voices" of the thousands of grassroots supporters of our 57 pregnancy centers who have turned out to committee hearings, and contacted legislators by phone, fax, and email, not to mention in person. They claimed the bill had been significantly amended to accommodate these concerns.

The facts, however, are quite different.

The text of the bill they passed is still terrible. The change are barely worth mentioning.

The committee made no effort to respond to serious concerns regarding the unconstitutional "forced speech" and "viewpoint discrimination" provisions. They are fully aware that a similar bill in Baltimore was declared unconstitutional by a federal judge in Maryland, and that Rob McKenna, our Attorney General, indicated that he thought this bill was even more clearly in violation of the First Amendment than the Baltimore ordinance.

The bill probably heads now to the House floor, but could possibly be derailed in the Rules Committee. Republicans on the committee put up little fight today, but afterward in meetings with the many pregnancy center supporters who packed the room offered a hopeful assessment. Rep. Joe Schmick said this bill was the 'talk of the town', and that the grassroots efforts had been well noted.

Some Democrats who were originally cosponsors were not expecting this kind of attention, and are reportedly looking for a way out.

The Republicans indicated that now more than ever it was necessary for the half a million pregnancy center supporters to make sure their representatives heard from them to kill this bill.

Facts and Fallacies About Pregnancy Centers in Washington State

We are seeing a lot of incorrect claims coming from the mouths of legislators and activists regarding Pregnancy Centers in Washington. Here are the facts to help you counter these fallacies.

First, you should know these three things:

1. Pregnancy Centers are non-profit, faith-based organizations that take no tax dollars from the federal or state government. They are supported 100% by individuals, businesses, churches and private foundations. They are all independent organizations managed by a local board of directors.

2. There are two types of Pregnancy Centers - Pregnancy Resource Centers (PRC) and Pregnancy Resource Medical Clinics (PRMC). Both may offer a variety of maternal support services, prenatal and new parent educational programs, practical support services for new mothers (i.e., diapers, clothing) and community and medical referrals.

3. Pregnancy Resource Centers provide free pregnancy test kits, pregnancy decision assistance and maternal and infant services and do not offer medical services. Pregnancy Medical Clinics are licensed medical clinics that specialize in pregnancy diagnosis. Medical services include pregnancy testing, nursing consultations, ultrasound exams, STD testing, and early prenatal care under the direction and supervision of a Washington State licensed physician. Most Pregnancy Medical Clinics also offer maternal and infant care services.


1. FALLACY: Legal Voice and Planned Parenthood Votes! Washington has received many complaints from women who have gone to Pregnancy Centers.

FACT: In 2010, Pregnancy Centers in Washington State had over 62,000 visits by women. According to a report by Legal Voice and Planned Parenthood Votes Washington, they claim that in 2009 they had more than 10 negative reports about Pregnancy Centers.[i] That would be ten complaints out of 62,000 visits.

2. FALLACY: Legal Voice and Planned Parenthood Votes performed an unbiased investigation into Pregnancy Centers.

FACT: Planned Parenthood is the largest provider of abortion services in the country. Legal Voice and Planned Parenthood Votes sent into some Pregnancy Centers specially trained volunteers to confirm the over 10 negative reports. How is this unbiased?

3. FALLACY: Pregnancy Centers mislead women regarding the services they offer.

FACT: The fact that Pregnancy Centers do not refer for or perform abortions or sell birth control is clearly stated on the front page of their client websites and in disclaimer forms that are signed by clients before receiving services. You can find copies of these forms at www.protectwomenwa.com.

4. FALLACY: Pregnancy Centers give women false information about pregnancy and abortion.

FACT: Pregnancy Medical Clinics clinics provide information about pregnancy and abortion under the direction of their Medical Director who is a licensed physician in Washington State. Pregnancy resource centers use state materials and nationally respected education pieces that are written and approved by physicians and endorsed by their national affiliations.

5. FALLACY: Pregnancy test outcomes are withheld from clients.

FACT: At a pregnancy resource center, a woman can get a free pregnancy test kit. The pregnancy test is then performed and read by the client. There is no delay in seeing the results as clients sit and watch the outcome of the test unfold in front of them. At Pregnancy Medical Clinics, nurses perform pregnancy tests in the same way as pregnancy tests are performed in any doctor's office.

6. FALLACY: Pregnancy Centers are "bogus" or "fake" medical clinics.

FACT: Pregnancy resource centers do not claim to be medical clinics and disclose this fact in their intake forms and client websites. Pregnancy Medical Clinics specialize in pregnancy diagnosis and meet the requirements of Washington State definition of a heath care provider (RCW 18.71.011). Just like all doctor's offices, a licensed doctor is the Medical Director who is responsible for the patient care and medical services provided at the clinic. These medical clinics are staffed by licensed nurses, sonographers and other medical professionals.

7. FALLACY: Comprehensive birth control services or referrals are not provided.

FACT: Pregnancy Centers do not sell birth control but they do provide referrals to local physicians for continued reproductive health care.

8. FALLACY: A patient's privacy is not protected at a pregnancy center.

FACT: Pregnancy Centers adhere to all Washington State confidentiality laws and other client/patient regulations. Furthermore, Pregnancy Medical Clinics follow the directions of their licensed physician regarding how medical records are to be protected.

9. FALLACY: Ultrasound exams provided are non-diagnostic.

FACT: Ultrasound exams are provided to patients under the direction and supervision of a licensed physician and performed by medical professionals for the purpose of diagnosing a viable intrauterine pregnancy.

[i] The Deceptive Practices of Limited Service Pregnancy Centers by Legal Voice and Planned Parenthood Votes! Washington, page 2

Quick Start Guide to the Bills in Olympia

What is HB 1366 / SB 5274?
HB 1366 / SB 5274 are two companion bills that target pregnancy centers in Washington State and threaten the existence of all abortion alternative centers in our state. HB 1366 has been rewritten and is in scheduled for a vote in the House health care committee on Thursday, February 10, 2011. If it passes, this bill will go to the rules committee and possibly from Rules to the House floor for a vote.

Who is behind HB 1366 / SB 5274?
This bill is not coming from women or former clients of pregnancy centers. Rather, this bill is backed by a broad coalition of radical pro-abortion groups that include Planned Parenthood, Legal Voice, Pro-Choice Washington (NARAL), NOW and the ACLU. (Planned Parenthood is the number one provider of abortion services in the country.)

What does HB 1366 / SB 5274 do?
If bills become law, HB 1366 / SB 5274 would require a series of arduous disclosures; in addition, it would provide for any person ?aggrieved? by an experience at a pregnancy center to bring a law-suit, and if they win to recover fines and attorney fees. Not surprisingly, there is no parallel cost imposed on anyone who brings such a law-suit and looses. Nor does any part of the law impose burdens on abortionists ? they are excluded from its coverage.

What is wrong with HB 1366 / SB 5274?
State and national legal experts tell us that it?s unfair and unconstitutional and violates the Equal Protection Clause because it singles out ONE group for unequal treatment based on their beliefs. It also violates the First Amendment because it forces disclosures are burdensome and in some cases untrue. Furthermore, the bill is incomprehensible in light of the Washington State?s budget woes. Last year pregnancy centers provided over $18.6 million in free maternal and infant support services and over $5.4 million in free medical services to women in our state.

What is the current status HB 1366 / SB 5274?
HB 1366 was heard in the House Health Care and Wellness committee on Monday, January 24 and the Senate Health and Long Term Care committee had a hearing on Wednesday, February 2, 2011. The bill will be in executive session of the House health care committee, Thursday, February 10 at 10am to be voted upon. The bill being voted upon is a new bill.

(Go to this blog for more information.)

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Do You Know How Many Women Will be Hurt by This Bill?

Q. How many women in Washington State did Pregnancy Resource Centers & Medical Clinics serve at NO CHARGE and with NO TAXPAYER MONEY in 2010?

A. There were over 62,000 visits by women to PRCs and PMCs in Washington in 2010.

Q. What is the cumulative dollar value of the maternal and infant services provided?

A. Most women and infants served received an average of $300 in FREE services totaling over $18.6 million per year.

Q. How many women received free maternal and infant services in 2010 (prenatal and parenting education, infant/mother support education, and practical support)?

A. There were over 22,000 visits by women for free maternal and infant support (which includes practical support such as diapers, maternity/baby clothing, and baby items).

Q. How many FREE pregnancy tests, STI testing, and ultrasound exams were provided in 2010?

A. There were over 31,000 medical tests and exams.

Q. What was the dollar value of those free medical services?

A. Over $5.4 million NOT BILLED to Medicaid.

Q. How many women received other free support services (such as mentoring and life skills) in 2010?

A. Over 9,000.

Q. Are women referred to local physicians for continued reproductive health care services?

A. Yes, referrals for continued medical care and community services are provided to women.

Q. How many social service entities and organizations in Washington State refer to Pregnancy Resource Centers & Medical Clinics?

A. Over 24 social service agencies (including DSHS, DOH, WIC, and CPS. The list even includes Planned Parenthood.

Q. How many individuals support/donate to Pregnancy Resource Centers & Medical Clinics in Washington State?

A. Over 500,000 (more than the combined populations of Spokane, Tacoma, and Yakima).