Supreme Court denies pregnancy center appeal to keep donor information private

Supreme Court denies pregnancy center appeal to keep donor information private

A dedication ceremony for the ultrasound machine donated by the Knights of Columbus to the First Choice Women's Resource Center in New Brunswick, N.J. / Credit: Knights of Columbus

Washington, D.C. Newsroom, May 15, 2024 / 15:26 pm (CNA).

The Supreme Court has denied a New Jersey pro-life pregnancy center’s appeal to keep its donor list and other correspondence private. 

This comes after New Jersey Attorney General Matthew Platkin, a Democrat, subpoenaed First Choice Women’s Resource Centers in November 2023 for “possible violations” against the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act relating to the group’s handling of patient data and statements about abortion pill reversal. 

Through the subpoena, Platkin ordered First Choice to turn over much of its internal communications as well as communications with patients and donors, some of which would reveal donors’ private information. 

Shortly before issuing the subpoena, Platkin signed onto a letter in which he and 15 other attorneys general accused pro-life pregnancy centers of spreading “harmful” misinformation about reproductive health care. The letter also accused pregnancy centers of using “deceptive tactics to lure in patients.”

First Choice is a Christian ministry that operates five pregnancy resource centers in New Jersey that offer pregnancy testing, ultrasounds, venereal disease screenings and treatment, and counseling. 

Represented by the law firm Alliance Defending Freedom, First Choice countersued in December 2023 to block Platkin’s subpoena. The ministry claimed that the subpoena violates its rights under the First and 14th Amendments and that it was being “selectively and unlawfully” targeted because of its pro-life views.

“AG Platkin never cited any complaint or other substantive evidence of wrongdoing to justify his demands but has launched an exploratory probe into the lawful activities, constitutionally protected speech, religious observance, constitutionally protected associations, and nonpublic internal communications and records of a nonprofit organization that holds a view with which he disagrees as a matter of public policy,” First Choice wrote in its countersuit.

First Choice’s request to block the subpoena has since been dismissed by a New Jersey circuit judge, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, and now the Supreme Court.