Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Abortion Business

Despite the fact that abortion is the taking of a human life, New York City has just signed into effect a law that places special requirements on Crisis Pregnancy Centers designed to protect these vulnerable lives:

• The law requires non-medical, pro-life “pregnancy services centers” to inform women with notices posted in both English and Spanish whether they have a licensed medical provider on staff. The signs would also state that the city’s Health Department encourages women to seek help from a licensed medical provider if the center does not have one on staff. It also requires the pro-life centers to post on signs and ads whether they provide referrals for abortion, “emergency contraception,” and prenatal care. The notices are required both for the pregnancy centers’ facilities and on their advertizing – in a size and font to be determined by city authorities. (LifeSiteNews.com, March 21)

• Failure to post the signs can result in fines of up to $1,000 for the first day of violation and up to $2,500 for each day thereafter. After three days of violation within a two-year period, the city health commissioner can shut down the center with the assistance of police. Other parts of the law allow for additional fines and imprisonment.

Well, what’s so problematic about having to post certain warnings or limitations regarding their services. Certainly, the law requires warnings on cigarette and drug advertisements! However, the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF), which has filed a lawsuit on behalf of these rescue centers, argues that this law is biased,

• …since state law does not require medical providers at non-medical centers, nor does it require abortion providers, such as Planned Parenthood, to make any disclosures in favor of abortion alternatives.

It has been argued that such a law is in violation of the Constitution – the government coercing another party to make certain speech/disclosures.

• Federal judges have issued injunctions against the laws in both cases. In the Montgomery County case, U.S. District Judge Deborah K. Chasanow ruled that officials were within constitutional bounds to require centers to publicize with signs whether a licensed medical professional was on hand. But she put a hold on the second part, severing it from the rest of the law, saying officials were stepping outside the scope of the speech government can compel, by forcing the centers to encourage the women to go elsewhere.

Let’s set aside the Constitutional ramifications and just regard this law from a moral point of view. There are certain forms of disclosures that society does compel, others that it doesn’t. There is protected free speech, and there is speech that isn’t protected. We can’t cry “fire” in a crowded theatre, but we can cry “fire” when there is an actual fire.

Does the abortion industry represent an actual fire? Is there an over-riding social concern to alert the public to this danger? Do we place society in significant and unwarranted jeopardy by not coercing the pregnancy centers to make such disclosures?

Abortion is a threat. It is not only the snuffing out of a human life – many of them – it is also a personal and social ill. LifeSiteNews.com reported on a meeting of “Silent No More” (people who have suffered because of abortion):

• Many women said they suffered for years - 20, 25, 30, or more - with a painful burden of guilt, buried deep inside them. They described the years of drug addiction, dysfunctional relationships, sexual promiscuity, and depression that resulted. Several said that the rejection of their baby also led to the ruin of other relationships - with lovers, parents, and living children. “I remember when I went to go get in the car [after the abortion], my one-year-old son reached out for me to pick him up, and I couldn’t,” recalled Cynthia Carney of Tulsa, barely able to speak through her tears. “My relationship changed with him that day. It’s never been the same.”

In addition, there are the many studies that connect abortion to future fertility and health problems. On the other side of the ledger, are there significant and over-riding reasons to control Crisis Pregnancy Centers in the biased manner that this new law does? Perhaps there is – the new secular religion that says, “I don’t want to be made to feel guilty about any of my pleasures!”

Personally, I would never want to make anyone feel guilty about something that couldn’t be meaningfully addressed. However, addressing the underlying guilt can lead to resolution. I like the way that the Apostle Paul states it:

Yet now I am happy, not because you were made sorry, but because your sorrow led you to repentance. For you became sorrowful as God intended and so were not harmed in any way by us. Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death. (2 Cor. 7:9-10)

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