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Steve Shiffrin

Interesting comment. I would think though that the question whether the
term pregnancy counseling is being used in a deceptive way is to look
at it through the eyes of a reasonable patient. I would expect that a
reasonable patient would expect to be informed of her available medical
options and the risks associated with them. I would also think that a
moral provider would have no compunctions about saying that it does not
give advise about abortions.


In its attack on pro-life pregnancy counseling centers, the abortion industry very much reminds me of what in the run-up to the Civil War abolitionists referred to as the “Slave Power.” The abolitionists (and actually Lincoln also even though he was not an abolitionist) claimed that the “Slave Power” was not content with slavery remaining solely in the South but, instead, was insistent that it be spread everywhere (even, according to Lincoln, into the North). The “Abortion Power” is similarly insistent on casting out the culture of life everywhere it is found and spreading in its place the “good news” of killing the unborn.

It is in this context that the recent spate of (unconstitutional) attacks on pregnancy counseling centers can be understood. Contrary to what Professor Shiffrin suggests it is not about “false advertising” at all. If it were, there would be no need for legislation as every state in the union already has statutes that bar false advertising. No, what is happening here is that the pro-abortion forces want to make abortion the norm for pregnancy counseling by having the law declare that the term “pregnancy counseling” is misleading if applied to counseling that does not countenance abortion. Just as the Slave Power could not rest until it drove out anti-slavery society wherever it was found, the Abortion Power cannot rest until abortion is fully legitimized and the pro-life worldview is fully de-legitimized. Hence, in the Abortion Power’s view, “pregnancy counseling” that does not countenance abortion cannot be allowed to present itself as legitimate “pregnancy counseling.” It can only present itself as a qualified form of pregnancy counseling.

Of course, in fact, there is nothing misleading at all when a pro-life pregnancy center says it provides pregnancy counseling, or even when it says it provides abortion counseling. It in fact does both things. Does Nieman Marcus engage in false advertising when it does not “disclose” that it does not sell junky clothes? Of course not. Similarly, pregnancy counseling centers do not engage in false advertising when they do not disclose in ads that they do not provide the junk advice that a woman should ever kill her unborn child.

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