The nosy government of New York wanted nuns who run a pro-life pregnancy center to disclose private and sensitive information about the women they help.
The nuns sued to stop the state from enforcing the law against the center. Sisters for Life’s mission is to protect unborn babies and provide resources for pregnant women — everything from housing to baby formula to free legal services. The legislation targets pregnancy centers that don’t provide referrals for abortion services.
The state passed a law in 2022 that authorizes the commissioner of the state health department “to conduct a study and issue a report examining the unmet health and resource needs facing pregnant women in New York and the impact of limited service pregnancy centers on the ability of women to obtain accurate, non-coercive health care information and timely access to a comprehensive range of reproductive and sexual health care services…”
It seems that the government is implying that pregnant women seeking information and resources with the goal of protecting their unborn babies are being lied to or coerced.
Becket Law recently announced that the government and the nuns have settled the lawsuit. In exchange for the nuns dropping the lawsuit, the state agreed not to harass the pro-life pregnancy center.
The nuns and the state entered a Stipulation and Order (PDF) “to avoid further protracted litigation and to resolve and settle all disputes.” The state admits no violation of the law or liability, and Sisters for Life does not waive or admit that the state is not liable for violating their constitutional rights.
Good enough, but the settlement pertains only to Sisters for Life. Other pregnancy centers will have to fight the battle anew.
Mark Rienzi, president and CEO of Becket, said this is a win for Sisters for Life and the women who come to the pregnancy center seeking help.
“The government never should have enacted this law, and we are thrilled that it ends with a federal court order that the State should just leave the Sisters alone while they do their important work.”
Photo credit: Sisters for Life
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