'Pregnancy centers' limit options for women

Wisconsin state website links to evangelical group

The state of Wisconsin shouldn't be directing citizens to a religious, anti-abortion website while providing no links to information about legitimate, legal abortion providers, says a complaint from the Freedom From Religion Foundation.

In a July 14 letter to Gov. Scott Walker, FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor called the link to Care Net inappropriate.

Care Net’s vision statement says: “Our vision is a culture where lives are transformed by the Gospel of Jesus Christ and every woman chooses life for herself and her unborn child.”

Clicking on "Health & Safety" at wisconsin.gov, the online portal to Wisconsin government, leads to (under "Family and Consumer Services") "Family Services Links - NEW!" Clicking that brings you to "Care Net Pregnancy Centers" under the "Family" subheading.

Care Net claims affiliation with more than 1,100 "pregnancy centers" to offer women "practical help and emotional support."

"By advertising this organization on a state of Wisconsin website, you are advertising evangelical ideals as well as an anti-abortion stance," Gaylor said. "Such religious propaganda has no place on a government website under 'Health & Safety.'

"Upon further research, it is apparent that there is no information on abortion, which is a constitutional right protected under Roe v. Wade, as a legitimate option for a pregnant woman, through the Family Services Links."

Gaylor added, "Care Net promotes a rabid evangelical Christian agenda, and is hostile to nonbelievers, non-Christians and nonevangelicals, as well as the feminist principle of a woman’s right to reproductive self-determination."

Care Net proclaims that it has adapted a statement of faith from the National Association of Evangelicals. The NAE's professed government-relations goal is “Bringing biblical values to the political sphere.”

No state government office should have any affiliation with a group that has a “statement of faith,” Gaylor said, because Establishment Clause jurisprudence bars the government from promoting or endorsing religion. FFRF notes that while the state website includes a so-called "Disclaimer for external links," the link to Care Net certainly constitutes an endorsement.

The Foundation is also concerned about other faith-based links, including one to the Brighter Futures Initiative. The entire state website has an abstinence-only agenda to prevent teen pregnancy with no information on contraception in any of the links listed.

"Please immediately remove the link to the Care Net organization and any other religious propaganda from the state’s website," Gaylor requested. 

The Freedom From Religion Foundation, based in Madison, Wis., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit educational charity, is the nation's largest association of freethinkers (atheists, agnostics), and has been working since 1978 to keep religion and government separate.

FFRF is a non-profit, educational organization. All dues and donations are deductible for income-tax purposes.

FFRF has received a 4 star rating from Charity Navigator

 

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