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.)