City Sued for Forcing Clinic to Tell Patients it is Unqualified to Provide Services

‘Hartford claims it’s promoting comprehensive information about health care but only censors and interferes with specific views about life, pregnancy, motherhood…’

Faith-Based Pregnancy Center Sues City Over Law that Would Force Staff to Declare Themselves 'Unqualified'

Caring Families / PHOTO: Alliance Defending Freedom

(Kaylee McGhee, Liberty Headlines) A faith-based pregnancy crisis center filed suit against the city of Hartford, Conn., on Thursday to block a law that would force the center’s staff to tell clients that they are unqualified to provide medical care.

Hartford passed a controversial ordinance in October that requires religious facilities to notify clients if they do not have a licensed medical provider on staff, and then display the disclaimer on their windows and websites.

But many religious pregnancy centers, like Caring Families Pregnancy Services in Willimantic, provide counseling, adoption referrals, parenting classes, Bible studies and other resources that don’t require a medical degree.

“This challenge seeks to protect the right of a pro-life, faith-based pregnancy center to exercise its religious beliefs and to speak about those beliefs so it can help women with concerns about pregnancy and motherhood,” Alliance Defending Freedom, which represents the center, wrote in the lawsuit.

The signs the ordinance requires “incorrectly imply that Mobile Care is not qualified to provide the free services it offers,” ADF said. The center “offers a wide range of services that do not require supervision by a licensed medical provider.”

The challenge to the local ordinance comes at the same time state lawmakers are considering imposing a similar law on a statewide basis.

Last month, the legislature’s Public Health Committee approved a proposal that would require the state’s faith-based pregnancy centers to stop promoting themselves as medical sites.

“Hartford has no business implying—by force of law—that Caring Families and other pro-life care providers are anything but competent and tolerant,” Denise Harle, a lawyer for the group, said in a statement.

“Worse still, Hartford claims it’s promoting comprehensive information about health care but only censors and interferes with specific views about life, pregnancy, motherhood—a double standard that’s both troubling and unconstitutional.”