You are not signed in as a Premium user; you are viewing the free version of this program. Premium users have access to full-length programs with limited commercials and receive a 10% discount in the store! Sign up for only one day for the low cost of $1.99. Click the button below.
WORCESTER, Mass. (ChurchMilitant.com) - Attempts to regulate Massachusetts pro-life crisis pregnancy centers failed after a city council vote.
Worcester city councilors voted 7–4 on Tuesday to shoot down two draft ordinances aimed at legislating the advertising practices of pro-life pregnancy resource centers.
Catholic Action League's executive director, C.J. Doyle, stated in a press release:
While the vote was a victory for human life, religious freedom and constitutional government, its proximate cause was a cold and calculated appreciation of the legal liabilities, and consequent fiscal burdens, that the city of Worcester and its taxpayers would have to bear defending this untenable and extremist legislation in court.
Doyle believes that the threat of lawsuits over the constitutionality of the proposed ordinances played a key role in the vote.
"There is a lesson to be learned here for the pro-life movement," Doyle explained. "While the legislature, the constitutional officers and the congressional delegation may be wholly owned subsidiaries of Planned Parenthood, the tentacles of the abortion industry do not seem to reach down as deeply and completely into the political lives of local elected officials."
"That means the pro-life movement may still have room to maneuver in the corridors of municipal government in Massachusetts," he declared.
The Worcester Telegram and Gazette detailed, "One ordinance is similar to others in Cambridge and Somerville in ensuring that any clinic providing services for people who believe they might be pregnant either directly provide abortions or emergency contraception, or provide referrals."
The media outlet continued, "The other would require all pregnancy services centers list whether they are licensed medical facilities and list the services provided."
This comes after Councilor-at-Large Thu Nguyen requested in July 2022 that "the city solicitor and administration return a draft ordinance regulating the advertising practices of these clinics."
Nguyen is reportedly Massachusett's first so-called non-binary elected official. Nguyen was endorsed by Planned Parenthood and other radical leftist organizations.
According to the local news, some claimed the pro-life centers "used deceptive practices to attract clients and convince them to keep their babies to term." The city council at that time voted 6–5 for an ordinance to be drawn up. The two proposed drafts were sent to members in August 2023.
City Solicitor Michael Traynor produced the two proposals: a "Deceptive Advertising Ordinance" and a "Transparency in Advertising Ordinance." Traynor, however, believed that both would lead to legal issues. Legal opinions were sought on the two drafts. Stephanie Toti, an attorney for the pro-abortion group The Lawyering Project, submitted an opinion.
According to the Telegram and Gazette:
Toti wrote that she disagreed with the assessment of Traynor on one of two submitted draft ordinances, modeled after ordinances in Somerville and Cambridge. While Traynor wrote about the ordinance presenting serious constitutional concerns, Toti wrote that the ordinance could pass constitutional muster. Toti largely agreed with Traynor that the second ordinance had legal issues as written.
Traynor and City Manager Eric Batista recommended neither draft be approved. The Massachusetts Family Institute reportedly sent letters to the city threatening a lawsuit if the ordinances were to be adopted. The 7–4 vote terminated the issue at the city level, but Patch reported, "The council said it would invite members of the city's state legislative delegation for a meeting about how crisis pregnancy centers might be regulated at the state level."