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After ADF sues, WA attorney general ends illegal campaign against pro-life pregnancy centers

Unlawful investigation into Obria Group, Obria Medical Clinics PNW now formally closed

Tuesday, May 28, 2024

SEATTLE – Following a lawsuit brought by Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys, Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson officially closed his unconstitutional investigation of two faith-based, pro-life pregnancy centers and stated he would not file litigation. ADF attorneys representing Obria Group and Obria Medical Clinics PNW filed Obria Group v. Ferguson six months ago, challenging Ferguson for singling them out because of their life-affirming views through an unlawful investigation into their sensitive records and materials.

Ferguson had previously denied that his investigation caused the clinics any harm and had said this precluded the federal court from hearing the clinics’ claims. But after one of the clinics showed that Ferguson’s investigation caused it to lose insurance coverage and to pay seven times more for replacement coverage, Ferguson issued an official letter closing his investigation. His letter states that, although the state’s Consumer Protection Division “does not issue formal notice to a target when it closes an investigation,” it is “making an exception in this instance to provide [Obria Group and Obria Medical Clinics PNW] with a statement they can offer to their insurer, which will provide certainty as to the status of this investigation.” He also stated his office had made a “decision not to pursue litigation” against the clinics.

“No one should be investigated by the government simply because they hold views the government doesn’t like. We’re pleased Washington’s attorney general has ceased his unlawful investigation into our clients, and that Obria Group and Obria Medical Clinics PNW will be free to continue their life-saving work in the community,” said ADF Senior Counsel Lincoln Wilson. “We look forward to a ruling from the court confirming that the attorney general unlawfully targeted and harassed these clinics because of their pro-life stance. The Constitution protects Obria medical clinics, and all other pro-life organizations, to freely speak their beliefs, exercise their faith, and continue compassionately serving women and couples facing difficult pregnancy circumstances.”

Ferguson issued civil investigative demands that dictate, for a time period exceeding 13 years, that the Obria Group and Obria Medical Clinics PNW provide answers to questions and production of documents under the pretense of conducting a civil investigation into “possible” violations of Washington’s Consumer Protection Act. As ADF attorneys explained in their lawsuit filed in November, Ferguson’s investigation did not appear to be based on a complaint or other substantive evidence of wrongdoing but was rather an exploratory probe into the lawful activities, constitutionally protected speech and associations, and nonpublic internal communications and records of two organizations that hold a view on a matter of public policy that Ferguson doesn’t favor.

Ferguson’s closure letter officially informed the Obria medical clinics that the division has now “closed its investigation into the potential Consumer Protection Act violations.”

Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization committed to protecting religious freedom, free speech, parental rights, and the sanctity of life.

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