California Panel Passes Bill to to Force Pregnancy Centers to Promote Abortions

State   Steven Ertelt   Apr 29, 2015   |   4:06PM    Sacramento, CA

A second California legislative committee has approved a bill that would compel pregnancy centers that provide women with abortion alternatives to promote and refer women for abortions. The Committee on the Judiciary completed its vote, 7-3, approving the bill and sending it to the Committee on Appropriations.

Thousands of pregnancy centers across the nation are the counterbalance to the abortion industry by providing women with tangible help and real alternatives to abortion. But pregnancy centers in California may soon find themselves forced to promote abortions under legislation pending in the California legislature.

AB 775, the Pregnancy Counseling Discrimination Rule, would require all pregnancy centers to promote abortions to their clients. There is no conscience clause or opt out for centers that provide pregnant women assistance without abortions or abortion referrals. Failure to comply carries a $500 fine for first offense and $1,000 for each subsequent offense. The bill authorizes the Attorney General, city attorney, or county counsel to impose the civil fines.

As a pregnancy help center web site notes, the bill continues to move forward in the Democrat-controlled legislature.

California State Assembly Bill 775 took its next step to becoming law Tuesday morning, when the State Assembly’s Committee on the Judiciary placed its vote on call just one “aye” away from moving onto the State Senate.

The bill, euphemistically named “The Reproductive FACT Act” by co-authors David Chiu (D) and Autumn R. Burke (D) is likely to pass with the committee’s approval, placing it before the 40-member Senate at a to-be-announced date.

Nicknamed the “Bully Bill” by pregnancy help organization leaders in the Stop AB 775 State Committee, the proposed legislation was met with opposition from 117 Californians—representing 26 non-profit pregnancy help organizations.

“As this bill moves through the Capitol, I only see us getting stronger and better,” Marie Leatherby, Executive Director for Sacramento Life Center, said. “This bill has awoken a sleeping giant in California, and a ripple effect is being felt throughout the halls of the Capitol building today.”

The list of supporters included paid staffers at NARAL Pro-Choice California, Planned Parenthood, Women’s Health Specialists, as well as the State Attorney General and mayoral office of Los Angeles.

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“If there is anything this renewed vigor of Big Abortion’s special-interest groups teaches us, it’s that we’re winning,” Jor-El Godsey, Vice-President of Heartbeat International, said. “These cases both bring into clear focus the desperation of an industry on the decline. Women are rejecting abortion because they are finding true compassion, accurate information, and support at pregnancy help organizations.”

“Even though most people would think that abortion numbers declining is a good thing, it’s obvious that Big Abortion sees fewer abortions as a threat to its profit and political power,” Godsey said.

Lori Arnold of the California Family Alliance emailed her concerns about the bill to LifeNews.com.

“California’s grisly abortion industry is in the midst of a government-sponsored boon. In 2013, the state waived safety regulations for abortion clinics (AB 980) and reduced the medical standards required to perform abortions by allowing certain nurses to do the surgeries (AB 154),” she said. “And last year, the California Department of Health cut all medical reimbursements by 10 percent while increasing taxpayer funding of abortions providers by 40 percent.”

“But abortion profiteers like Planned Parenthood and NARAL are still not content with state taxpayers as their sugar daddy. They are now pushing new discriminatory regulations that would force local Pregnancy Care Centers and Clinics (or PCCs, which provide free and confidential support services to pregnant mothers) to advertise and promote chemical and surgical abortions,” Arnold added. “Under the provisions of AB 775 (Chiu, D-San Francisco), PCC’s that provide medical services such as ultrasounds would be required to refer all clients to Medi-Cal programs that provide free abortions. In addition, any non-medical centers that offer free counseling, pregnancy support, and parenting classes would be required to post signage stating they are “not licensed facilities.” Both types of PCCs would also be coerced to include such statements in all advertising.”

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CareNet, one of the largest networks of pregnancy centers in North America, strongly opposes the legislation. In a statement on its website, Eve Marie Barner Gleason, director of Center Best Practices, said the measure is clearly biased in its approach.

“The abortion industry in California has a problem,” she said. “They have already ensured a steady income stream by getting abortion funded by taxpayers through Medi-Cal. But some women choose to seek information and assistance in making a pregnancy decision at centers where they receive accurate information about abortion risks and are empowered to choose life. They see every choice for life as money lost.”

Arnold says market share is undoubtedly a primary motivation for AB 775. “But sadly, it goes even beyond money. The pro-abortion movement will not be satisfied until it silences all opposition to its cause. At the same time, it defiantly rejects its own hypocrisy

Unfortunately, if approved, AB 755 will become a dangerously powerful tool in the anti-life arsenal. As CareNet’s Gleason told her member operators, “You pay for your advertising. Now, they want you to pay for theirs too.”

Finally, the bill would also require the Attorney General to post on the Department of Justice’s Internet Web site a list of the covered facilities upon which a civil penalty has been imposed.

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