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Elizabeth Warren: It's time to start shutting down crisis pregnancy centers

I saw a headline the other day citing her complaint that crisis pregnancy centers heavily outnumber abortion clinics in Massachusetts, but I paid it no mind. She was simply saying that her state needs more abortion providers to even the numbers — I assumed.

She’s not saying that, it turns out. She’s looking to even the numbers by *shutting down* crisis centers.

Normally when a politician floats dubious legal action I have some sense of where they’re coming from, what type of legally respectable arguments they’ll make to try to justify what they’re doing. I’m at a loss on this one. What’s the rationale here apart from “I don’t like seeing women talked out of aborting and so people shouldn’t be allowed to do that”?

David French calls her idea “grotesquely unconstitutional.” Sure smells that way to me. CPCs are nonprofits that aim to convince pregnant women not to abort, and may even offer services like help with child-rearing or adoption referrals for women who opt to carry to term. The only reason Warren could have for wanting to close down an outfit like that is because she resents their point of view and is eager to use to state power to silence it. It’s blatant viewpoint discrimination.

Which is especially evil in this case, as CPCs end up saving the lives of some children who’d otherwise end up on Planned Parenthood’s chopping block.

Warren’s “respectable” legal justification, I assume, is that some CPCs are guilty of false advertising. Pro-choicers have complained for years that some crisis pregnancy centers aim to deceive women by deliberately making themselves resemble abortion clinics, sometimes down to having staff wear white coats to give the impression that terminations are performed on the premises. The idea, obviously, is that the more a CPC superficially looks like a clinic, the more likely pregnant women are to wander in seeking a quick solution to their problem. That’s when CPCs try to talk them out of aborting and offer resources to help with the ordeal of carrying to term.

Which is what Warren’s afraid of. She fears that a woman who’s inclined to end an unplanned pregnancy and determined enough to seek out an abortion might end up being dissuaded after entering the “wrong” type of facility. Imagine a male politician insisting that a business that caters to women has to be regulated or even shut down because pregnant women are “impressionable” in their “delicate state” and can too easily be talked out of following through on their plans for pregnancy.

Even if some CPCs do engage in false advertising, e.g., by claiming they offer abortions when they don’t, penalizing them by closing them down instead of fining them would be insanely draconian. That’s the “tell” that Warren’s not offended by the deceptive practices, she’s offended by the outcome in which abortions are averted; the deception can be remedied by means short of shuttering the business, after all. To justify having the state swoop in and lock a company’s doors for misleading customers, the advertisement would have to be on the order of a poison manufacturer touting their product as a beverage. Life and death.

There’s life and death at stake too in the case of CPCs, but it runs the other way. In this case, the state in the person of Elizabeth Warren is keen to shutter businesses that prevent avoidable deaths by lobbying pregnant women on the value of life. She’s a drab and twisted tyrant, but then most of our leaders are.

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David Strom 10:00 AM | May 29, 2024
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