Yesterday I reported that contrary to what many think, morality can actually be legislated to some extent. Pro-life legislation that has cropped up all over the nation has been researched academically and shown to have reduced abortions by 22%. Sadly, there’s another side to this coin, and New York City is reaping the tail end.
Yesterday NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg signed into law a bill that had overwhelmingly been approved by the city council that is essentially a “gag order” on crisis pregnancy centers. Pro-abortion advocates NARAL issued a delighted press release that said Victory: Mayor Michael Bloomberg, New York City Council Protect Women. The truth is the exact opposite.
One pro-life advocate said it was “a sad day for free speech.” I would argue that is an understatement. In the city that has a 41% abortion rate, the mayor ought to be helping reduce that not contributing to the ease of the deaths. Even President Obama and the political pro-abortion leaders in this nation say they want to make abortion rare, and while we have not seen evidence of that, Mayor Bloomberg’s action is so blatantly biased that it reeks of fanatical political plays without much heart or sense.
The new law in the abortion capital of America, as New York Magazine has called it, says:
[F]orces pro-life pregnancy centers to prominently display whether they perform abortions in both English and Spanish at their entrances, as well as on all promotional material. Any pregnancy center in violation of the rule would be liable for up to a $1000 fine for a first offense, and up to $2,500 for subsequent offenses, as well as up to six months imprisonment. (Source)
Adding to the tragedy of this is that in the city there are 45 abortion clinics but only 24 crisis pregnancy centers. The abortion rate in NYC is almost double that of the nation, and so are the clinics to pregnancy centers—but that wasn’t enough for the mayor and city council.
In fact, the mayor even expressed doubts about the abortion rate saying he didn’t know if that was really true, despite the fact the study was verified by the Guttmacher Institute, a pro-choice agency. It seems the mayor and city council may be the only ones disputing the abortion rate, at least that is evidenced by the fanatical law enacted yesterday.
There are serious problems with this law. One is that even the New York Times reports that while other health issues are seeing improvement, this one is stuck. The mayor and council should be helping overall city health, not aligning itself with the city’s fringe. Another is that this very type of law was just this week deemed unconstitutional in the state of Maryland, but apparently Bloomberg needed to bow to political pressure and cost the city lots of money in defense of a law that most can see is a violation of free speech. Chris Slattery of a top pro-life agency in the city has already vowed to challenge it in court, and he brings up, perhaps, the most disturbing element of this law, noting:
The bill is also problematic because it forbids pregnancy centers from reporting sex abuse without a child’s consent. The only exceptions are in cases of children 12 or younger who are victims of incest. (Source)
In an age where Live Action has repeatedly shown that Planned Parenthood will cover up sexual abuse and mistreatment of minors, Bloomberg turns around and signs a law that will make it easier?
Proponents of laws like these argue that crisis pregnancy centers are deceptive because they do not advertise that they do not commit abortions. Does Planned Parenthood call itself an abortion clinic? Of course not. They use an euphemistic name that sounds tame. They don’t post on their doors that they encourage women to abort their babiesy. They don’t post that they committed 332,278 abortions in 2009. That’s why this is a free speech issue. Requiring one side to restrain its speech while allowing the other side unbridled liberty, even to the point of creating a law that forbids reporting sexual abuse in some cases, is a violation of free speech—not to mention morality.