Wednesday, February 22, 2017

SB501 - Malama Pregnancy Center needs your help

Today's post is from the Life Matters newsletter. To be on the email list, sign up via the link on the right hand column of this blog.

Today's email:

Due to the urgency of this matter, I am going to just send you the direct message from Joy Wright, Executive Director of the Malama Pregnancy Center. Please prayfully consider helping.

Here is her message and call to action:
Please help...there are two pieces of legislature (HB 663 and SB 501) set to be passed in the state of Hawaii that require non-profit pregnancy centers to refer clients to government funded agencies for state funded abortions.  If pregnancy centers do not comply they will be fined and may even face legal action.  Please become informed regarding these critical bills at Hawaii State Legislature.  
The state is about to pass a law that tells faith based non-profit pregnancy centers to violate their basic principles and religious beliefs.  The government is prohibited from compelling a faith based organization to give a message which is in direct opposition and violation of its fundamental principles. This law will  infringe on their First Amendment rights of freedom of speech and freedom of religion.  This is a blatant violation of the separation of church and state.  It is a targeted attack on faith based life-affirming pregnancy centers.  Similar laws have passed in California and Illinois recently setting precedence. 
Pregnancy Centers do not take away a women's right to choose, their mission is to provide more than one choice. Women are smart and deserve the opportunity to be informed regarding pregnancy decisions including the choice carry the preborn to term and to parent.  Pregnancy centers do not charge for their services and clearly relay that they do not perform or refer clients for abortions.  Thus, the client is not mislead regarding services offered.  Pregnancy centers love and care for the client no matter what her decision may be.  Pregnancy centers are nonprofit life-affirming faith based ministries that care about women holistically, the preborn, men, and the family unit.  Pregnancy centers should be afforded their First Amendment rights per the United States Constitution.  
Please help!  Read below to find out how...
Please prayerfully read the attached written testimony in opposition.  If you would like to submit this written testimony in opposition or your own testimony, you may do so by 8:00AM on Thursday, February 23rd.  Please log into the  Hawaii State Legislature website and search Bill SB 501. Next, you follow the submit testimony link to submit your name, city you reside in, and your testimony.
Written testimony will only be accepted until Thursday, February 23rd at 8:00AM. 
We would like to ask for 10 people to reply that you are willing to:
1.  Call, email, or write a legislature regarding these bills.
2.  Ask 5 of your friends to do the same.

Sample Testimony Letter:
Re: Senate Bill No. 501
Relating to Health

Thank you for the opportunity to testify IN OPPOSITION to SB501

Pregnancy Resource Centers are a tremendous value to our local community in Hawaii. They are pro-woman and provide safe, confidential places to those facing an unplanned pregnancy. Since all their services are free, they do not benefit financially from a woman's reproductive choice as other agencies may. They empower the women of Hawaii to make informed choices. Many women in unplanned pregnancies will tell you that they feel an abortion is their only choice. Whether you consider yourself pro-life or pro-choice, that should never be. Pregnancy Resource Centers provide, for free, needed support, services, material assistance and medical screenings so no woman needs to ever feel that abortion is the only choice. The abortion lobby is wrongfully attacking Pregnancy Centers with SB501

We feel that SB501 is a one sided bill clearly targeting pregnancy resource centers for their deeply held religious views of the sanctity of life by forcing them to promote abortion by posting or handing out the government’s favored view. Forcing pregnancy resource centers to refer for abortion in any manner violates their First Amendment rights of the freedom of speech and freedom of religion.

The additional regulations this bill creates will have to be monitored and enforced. This will create a cost to the state. This cost will, in essence, be created to regulate five private religious non-profit organizations that offer all services at no cost to clients and receive no federal or state funding.

Given its obvious disregard for the First Amendment rights of the religious organizations affected, we can only assume they will fight this law to the highest court. Due to the cost of having to defend this unconstitutional bill, we oppose the State of Hawaii using taxpayers dollars to defend it in the courts solely to regulate a handful of religious organizations doing no harm to society.

The state should not infringe their view on religious organizations and violate their First Amendment rights. Nor should the state waste tax payer dollars to defend unnecessary legislation.
For these reasons, we urge you to OPPOSE SB501.

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