State of Vermont sued for threat to silence pregnancy centers

S37 imposes “fear of unjust government punishment” on faith-based pregnancy centers, federal suit says

Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday on behalf of the National Institute of Family and Life Advocates and two pregnancy care centers challenging Vermont state officials for unconstitutionally restricting the centers’ speech and provision of services, an ADF statement released Tuesday said.

In May, Gov. Phil Scott signed SB 37 into law, impeding the ability of pro-life pregnancy centers to continue providing help and support to Vermont women and families. The law censors the centers’ ability to advertise their services. It also precludes the ability of centers to offer even non-medical services, information, and counseling unless provided by a licensed health care provider.

“Women who become unexpectedly pregnant should be empowered with life-affirming options, emotional support, and practical resources,” said ADF Legal Counsel Julia Payne. “Vermont’s law, however, does the opposite—it impedes women’s ability to receive critical services during a difficult time in their lives and suppresses the free-speech rights of faith-based pregnancy centers. Pregnancy centers should be free to serve women and offer the support they need without fear of unjust government punishment.”

NIFLA is a religious nonprofit that provides pro-life pregnancy center members with legal resources and counsel, with the aim of developing a network of life-affirming ministries in every community across the nation. NIFLA has six member facilities in Vermont, including Aspire Now and Branches Pregnancy Resource Center, two faith-based pregnancy centers that have joined the lawsuit.

The lawsuit explains that the Vermont law specifically targets pro-life pregnancy centers as “limited services” providers because they do not refer or perform abortions. Under the law, the state attorney general has the authority to fine pregnancy centers up to $10,000 if she believes its life-affirming messages are misleading.

The law applies only to pro-life pregnancy centers—an abortion clinic that provides identical information would not be subject to the law. Also, the law does not define “misleading,” so it is left up to the discretion of the attorney general.

Further, Vermont’s law precludes the ability of centers to offer even non-medical services, information, and counseling unless provided by a licensed health care provider. This restriction harms pregnancy centers by preventing their non-medical staff and volunteers from providing clients with any information related to pregnancy and counseling clients about their options. It also prevents non-medical pregnancy centers, like Branches, from providing women with information or counseling about pregnancy without hiring medical staff.

ADF attorneys filed the lawsuit, National Institute of Family and Life Advocates v. Clark, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Vermont.

Michael Tierney is serving as local counsel on behalf of NIFLA and the pregnancy care centers.

Categories: Legislation, Life&Death

16 replies »

  1. BRAVO!!! It is about time Vermont pro-lifers fight proverbial fire with fire. These tactics used by leftists and emboldened through actions & the protection of our compromised & weaponized FBI are attempting to prohibit freedom of speech & expression in some type of deviant, demonic-inspired lawfare with the intent to slaughter as many babies as possible in the process.

    Of course, the pro-life community wishes them the best and trusts they will pursue whatever avenues it takes to ACTUALLY protect the RIGHT to choose!!!

  2. The reason this state doesn’t support the right for life is because this state supports the international agenda of population control. The below link provides a declassified document, the Kissenger Report, from around 1975 on this global effort and strategies. Statements include “indoctrinating” children into believing smaller families are better and sterilization campaigns to reduce birth rates. These international NGOs are very concerned about wealth inequities because their studies show that the poorer the nation, the more children it’s citizens have. Therefore, the solution is to redistribute wealth. I would like to point out the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal on Equity: create more equal outcomes within Nations and globally. The paper also details that educating women has proven to be an effective tool in reducing birth rates. The United Nations also has an STD on educating women globally. This paper even references migration as a means to improve the economic outcomes of women via education and work. The document stated that unrestricted migration will also address the issue of aging and declining population aka population collapse. This collapse has already started in many nations. The United Nations actually put out a paper in 2000 about migration being used to replace the diminishing population. There is also a United Nations Sustainable Development Goal on migration, which states member states should conduct orderly migration of people.


  3. Just so it’s clear, the issue in this article is not abortion/pregnancy, it’s elected activists illegally and unconstitutionally restricting the rights of the citizens. Evidently these elected activists think they need only consult their emotions and ideology when determining public policy.

  4. What happened to the newly passed in 2022 amendment to the Vermont State Constitution that “gives individual personal autonomy to every individual over their own body?”

    If a Vermont Citizen chooses to visit a pregnancy center in Vermont to investigate options and make their own personal choices, why is the Vermont Government now trying to make new laws that control the individual “personal autonomy” they fought so hard to add to Vermont’s Constitution?

    OH …… sorry ……. I forgot who I was talking about. A government devoid of logic, reasoning, reality and common sense.

    • vtbeliever, they have those things of which you claim they are devoid. The fact is that real agendas are hidden.

  5. So thankful for Alliance Defending Freedom. They are there to advocate in the public square for what is right and true in areas basic to those living in a free society. Too often justice is denied because of unaffordable expensive attorney representation. Without ADF, Constitutional law violation cases like this would be prohibitively expensive to pursue. Crisis Pregnancy Centers need every dollar you donate to it to offer caring, life affirming, lifesaving information and have no money to fight the government and others who would deny them their First Amendment rights to share that information with others in need of it.

    If you want a worthy place to invest your hard-earned money where it will do the best to support what you believe in, consider donating to ADF. Alliance Defending Freedom (adflegal.org)

  6. Thank You Alliance Defending Freedom and the Attorneys working with them! Sue Vermont to the hilt. Truth will Always Prevail. God has already won, be on the side of Victory!

  7. Liberal lefties decades ago used to protest against tyrannical government, “the Man”, and restrictions on their freedom of speech. Now they ARE the tyrannical government, and they are “the Man”. What a bunch of hypocrites. Free speech as long as it supports liberal ideology. Free speech for me but not for thee. Go for it, ADF!

  8. There were those of us who questioned the constitutionality of that law. We were scoffed for doubting the wisdom of of legislators. But a federal just might agree with us.

    And another Dem-Prog Groupthink agenda item goes down in flames.

  9. BTW, it looks to me as though Ms. Charity Clark is an out-and-out racist. There is Ms. Davis in a lovely photo on the left in her position to save as many unborn babies as possible from murder, understanding that women of color abort their offspring at a rate of approximately four times that of white women, and her organization is being both attacked and stymied by an obviously discriminatory, racist woman who embodies white supremacy: CHARITY CLARK, as pictured on the left.

    SHAME, SHAME MS. CLARK. Your demonstrable hatred against people of color and your very visible quest to prevent future black lives from being brought into the world is a public disgrace. Good luck with your Communistic style of violating freedoms as we Americans know them to be now that NIFLA has exposed your hateful and dangerous actions.

    And please try to always remember, “Charity” – Abortion IS murder. It is NOT “feministic” or “empowering” or “heath care”……OK?

  10. Some have mentioned the agenda. Have no doubt, it is the agenda of death and destruction.
    The ” Laws ” recently passed by this marxist legislature and signed by Scott have only one purpose.
    Scott has allocated millions of VT State taxpayers money to planned parenthood.
    He has not given a Cent to any Pro Pregnancy Center, but he has fought against them.
    Violating the VTGOP Platform which states, We support life from conception.
    Doesn’t really matter though, because that is one of many examples.
    Ms. Clarks agenda is the same as Donovan’s was, destroy the unborn and sexually, chemically and psychologically mutilate children. Don’t ever forget, Donovan had sixteen or seventeen planned parenthood staffers working in his office to write Prop 5. State property and resources used to promote death, and VT Taxpayers paid for it.

    As vtbeliever correctly points out, the language of the illegal and unconstitutional Law provides protections for everyone who seeks council or service from Pro Pregnancy Centers.

    RE the agenda….. destroy the unborn, mutilate children, destroy the Family unit and provide a method for vulnerable and disabled people to kill themselves.
    Above all destroy Females, and remove anyone who seeks to protect life .

    Governor Scott and Attorney General Clark have chosen to side with evil.
    Laws don’t matter if there is no justice. And the facts that support Pro Pregnancy Centers and those who use these services are protected somehow escape them.
    Except to those who think logically instead of emotionally.

  11. By the way, readers, pardon my error – CHARITY CLARK is pictured on the RIGHT of your screen, not the left……Pardon my mistake Ms. Davis —– I never intended to confuse your lovely photograph (pictured left) with the Soros Slimeball CHARITY CLARK (pictured right).

    Just to reiterate:

    Soros Slimeball (pictured right): Charity Clarke

    Defender of Life and Constitutional Freedoms (pictured left): Ms. Jean Davis

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