Should Congress criminalize protests against churches and pro-life pregnancy centers?

Awaiting Vote
Bill Summary

This bill would provide adequate penalties and remedies for protests/attacks on facilities providing counseling about abortion alternatives and attacks on places of religious worship. This bill would also protect centers that refuse to give women abortions. This bill would criminalize protests and provide protesters, with penalties of up to $25,000 and up to 3 years in prison, for their first offense. Sponsor: Senator Josh Hawley (Republican, Missouri) View full bill text ➔

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Opponents say

•     "No one should have to question that the person they are seeking medical advice from is actually a doctor or that information is accurate, objective, and complete. It is truly disgusting that reproductive rights are being threatened and attacked by crisis pregnancy centers whose guiding principle is to mislead, misinform, and outright lie to pregnant people in order to dissuade them from having an abortion. It is long past time that we prohibit these predatory tactics to undermine reproductive rights." Source: Representative Carolyn B. Maloney (Democrat, New York, District 12)

•     "Crisis pregnancy centers are organizations that seek to intercept women with unintended pregnancies who might be considering abortion. Their mission is to prevent abortions by persuading women that adoption or parenting is a better option. Because the religious ideology of these centers’ owners and employees takes priority over the health and well-being of the women seeking care at these centers, women do not receive comprehensive, accurate, evidence-based clinical information about all available options. Although crisis pregnancy centers enjoy First Amendment rights protections, their propagation of misinformation should be regarded as an ethical violation that undermines women’s health." Source: Journal of Ethics (American Medical Association)

Proponents say

•     "The Biden Administration has turned a blind eye while radical leftists attack pregnancy care centers and houses of worship. And now left-wing politicians are trying to shut them down. It’s time to put an end to the attacks and get tough on thugs who engage in violence, arson, and other means of destruction." Source: Senator Josh Hawley (Republican, Missouri)

•     "I applaud Senator Hawley for stepping up to fill the gap and defend pregnancy resources centers, particularly in the absence of action from the president, to bring an end to this senseless violence. This bill is a commonsense measure that no one could reasonably oppose. Supporting pregnancy resource centers should not be a partisan issue; these centers exist solely to offer free material resources and support to mothers who need it. Shouldn’t that be something that even so-called ‘pro-choicers’ could get on board with?" Source: Joy Stockbauer (Center for Human Dignity at Family Research Council)