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New York nuns declare victory as state backs off investigation into pro-life pregnancy center

A group of Catholic nuns in New York City were granted protection from a New York probe seeking internal records of pro-life pregnancy centers in the state.

New York officials agreed not to investigate a Catholic pro-life group, after a federal court forbid the state from demanding the group's internal records on Wednesday.

Sisters of Life, a group of Catholic nuns in New York City who offer free resources and help to women in unplanned pregnancies, was one of several pregnancy centers targeted by a New York statute passed in June of 2022. At the time, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul authorized the health commissioner to investigate whether crisis pregnancy centers, which do not offer referrals for abortion, were coercing women with inaccurate information in order for them to continue their pregnancies. 

The Sisters of Life sued the state in September of 2022 over the probe, arguing the law required "intrusive and burdensome disclosure requirements," based on the pro-life center's unwillingness to offer abortion referrals. They argued the act was "plainly unconstitutional."

On November 8, New York complied with a federal court order which said it must not "take any enforcement action of any kind" against Sisters of Life based on their noncompliance with any information or document request related to the probe.


Sr. Maris Stella, Vicar General for the Sisters of Life, said they were grateful for the court order protecting their right to continue their ministry of serving women in the state.

"As Sisters of Life, it’s our privilege to walk alongside each woman who comes to us and to stand in solidarity with her, helping her to move in freedom, not in fear. We are grateful for this victory, which protects our right to continue to uphold and defend the beauty and strength of women," she said in a statement.

The religious group boasts thousands of volunteers who assist in providing the needy with baby items, residence, health care, counseling, legal advice, employment, education and even handy-man services. While founded as a pregnancy resource center, they also offer weekend retreats, college outreach and end of life ministry.

She continued: "In over 30 years of serving women in the State of New York, we have learned that what a woman really needs is to be seen, heard, and believed in, which is why we are committed to providing the necessary emotional, practical, and spiritual support for her to flourish. We are called to bring hope, comfort, and joy to women who feel they have nowhere else to turn. The judge’s order will protect us as we continue our ministry."


The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which served as legal counsel for the group, also celebrated the Sisters' win over the state probe.

"This order is a win for the Sisters and the women they serve. The government never should have enacted this law, and we are thrilled that it ends with a federal court order that the State should just leave the Sisters alone while they do their important work," President and CEO of Becket, Mark Rienzi remarked in a statement.

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Fox News' Maria Lencki contributed to this report.

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