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Innovative Law Requires “Signs of Hope” in Abortion Clinics
Signs now required by law in Louisiana abortion clinics feature a mobile phone URL for women to review images of the unborn child and resources for abortion alternatives.
“Women today get the majority of their information via mobile technology. This Act is designed to supplement the booklets required by Women’s Right to Know laws so that women can use their mobile phones or laptops to view photos and videos of the unborn child, information about abortion risks and adoption services, and resources to obtain free ultrasound and prenatal care,” said Bordlee.
In addition to being listed on the signs, the law requires the URL to be posted on the home page of abortion clinic websites and must be given to anyone scheduling an appointment for an abortion.
While several states require signs to warn women in abortion clinics that they cannot be coerced, the BDF Signs of Hope Act provides additional information to help women choose life. The signs, which must be posted in abortion clinic waiting areas and patient rooms, inform women that:
1) they can’t be forced to abort against their will;
2) the father owes child support even if he offered to pay for the abortion;
3) adoptive parents may pay costs of prenatal care and childbirth; and
4) there are many agencies to help women during and after the pregnancy.
The exact text on the signs is specified in the BDF-drafted legislation, and requires a full color design by the Department of Health. Because the bill was part of the Governor’s legislative package, Louisiana Health Secretary Bruce Greenstein testified in favor of H.B. 636 in both legislative committees. His department is now designing the signs and abortion alternatives website, which is required to be published by November 6, 2011.
Bioethics Defense Fund commended the author of La. HB 636, Rep. Frank Hoffmann (R-Monroe), and the Louisiana Right to Life Federation who promoted the bill as their flagship legislation.
According to BDF senior counsel Dorinda Bordlee, “The bill was dubbed the ‘Signs of Hope’ Act in committee testimony by Cindy Collins, the director of a center that counsels post-abortive women, who said the signs in abortion clinics will bring hope to women who often feel hopeless and coerced due to a perceived lack of alternatives.”
Nikolas T. Nikas, BDF president and general counsel, said, “We encourage state legislators and policy leaders to contact our legislative department to get a copy of the model bill and complementary legal support. The Supreme Court has repeatedly held that states have a strong interest in promoting childbirth over abortion, and the Signs of Hope Act uses modern technology to do just that.” At least 25 states have "Women's Right to Know" laws requiring informed consent information and reflection periods.
For more information, including an image of the prototype “Sign of Hope” that will now be required in all Louisiana abortion clinics, go to http://www.BDFund.org/
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Bioethics Defense Fund is a public-interest legal organization whose mission is to defend human life through strategic legislation, litigation, and public education on issues involving abortion, human embryo experimentation, euthanasia and healthcare rights of conscience.