- Pro-life nonprofits Obria Group and Obria Medical Groups PNW filed a lawsuit Wednesday against Democratic Attorney General Bob Ferguson of Washington state, and they told the Daily Caller News Foundation that he is purposely “targeting” them for their pro-life views.
- In 2022, Ferguson demanded that the nonprofits turn over thousands of records going back to January 2010 to determine if they had violated Washington’s Consumer Protection Act, which prohibits deceptive marketing practices because they support women’s access to the abortion reversal pill.
- “There has been no explanation for what prompted the initiation of this investigation,” Tim Garrison, senior counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom, told the DCNF.
Two pro-life nonprofits are alleging that Democratic Attorney General Bob Ferguson of Washington state is purposefully “targeting” them for their views and support of the abortion reversal pill, they told the Daily Caller News Foundation.
The Obria Group and Obria Medical Groups PNW, Christian pregnancy organizations, filed a lawsuit Wednesday after Ferguson began investigating them in 2022 for allegedly violating Washington’s Consumer Protection Act (WCA), which prohibits deceptive marketing practices, because they support women’s access to the abortion reversal pill. River Sussman, executive director of Obria Medical Group PNW, and Tim Garrison, senior counsel with Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), told the DCNF that the attorney general’s investigation had “no factual basis” and was designed to harass them for their pro-life mission.
“There has been no explanation for what prompted the initiation of this investigation,” Garrison told the DCNF. “We’re aware of no complaint that has been lodged against Obria Group or Obria Medical Groups Pacific Northwest. We’re aware of no factual basis for any suspicion that these organizations have put out false or misleading statements regarding any of the services that they provide, regarding any of the harms associated with abortion, or regarding the safety and efficacy of abortion pill reversal.”
Progesterone, also known as the abortion reversal pill, is a hormone that is often prescribed to women who are at risk of miscarrying and has also been used by pro-life medical professionals to halt the effects of a chemical abortion if a woman changes her mind, according to the American Pregnancy Association. Obria and Obria Medical PNW do not offer the pill or provide referrals, but they do have a number on their website that women can call to find out more information, Sussman explained.
“Women, who have decided after taking the abortion pill that they don’t want to go forward with it, deserve the opportunity to have access to it. So that’s the reason we did have the [number],” Sussman told the DCNF.
Despite this, Ferguson demanded that the groups turn over thousands of records going back to January 2010 to determine if the nonprofits had violated the WCA, according to the lawsuit. Garrison told the DCNF that despite Obria initially complying, Ferguson then began to demand information from other groups that had worked with the nonprofits in the past.
“It’s not fun to have people be upset with you about something that you didn’t have any control over,” Sussman said. ” And they’re upset because it’s costing them money to get lawyers to defend themselves or respond to these unfounded accusations.”
The lawsuit also states that Ferguson has a “long and well-documented zeal for abortion” access and that he has been similarly vocal about his disapproval of pro-life legislation. Obria and ADF allege that the attorney general’s feelings on the issue have led to a “strong antipathy toward organizations that protect pregnant women and unborn children from the harms of abortion and a particular animus toward pregnancy resource centers,” according to the court document.
It was only after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June 2022 that states suddenly began targeting pregnancy clinics for offering or recommending progesterone to reverse a chemical abortion, Garrison explained to the DCNF. He pointed to Colorado, which was sued by a local pregnancy center after the state tried to outlaw doctors’ ability to prescribe progesterone.
A U.S. District Court issued an injunction in October halting the ban.
“Colorado was one of the first states in the nation to even question legislatively the use of progesterone for women who changed their minds and no longer wish to go through with an abortion,” Garrison said. “They attempted to outlaw abortion reversal but that statute is currently enjoined in Colorado.”
ADF and Obria have yet to get a response from Ferguson’s office, Garrison told the DCNF, but noted that it is still in the “early days” and that they expect to hear something soon.
The attorney general’s office told the DCNF that it can confirm the investigation into Obria Groups but did not disclose whether or not the office had recieved a complaint or evidence indicating the group had violated the WCA.
“We are deeply concerned about any effort to deceive pregnant Washingtonians about their reproductive health care options,” a spokesperson said. “We are confident we will prevail in this case, just as we have defeated other efforts to stop our investigations.”
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