Pregnancy Centers Refuse to Comply With New California Law Forcing Them to Promote Abortion

State   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Mar 16, 2016   |   2:11PM   |   Sacramento, CA

Pro-life pregnancy centers in California are refusing to be bullied by a new state rule demanding that they promote abortions.

The radical, pro-abortion law took effect in December, forcing about 150 pro-life non-profits to choose between advertising abortions and facing fines of up to $1,000 if they do not comply.

Some are not.

According to the Sacramento Bee, at least two pregnancy resource centers in the Sacramento area are not following the pro-abortion law. The radical pro-abortion group NARAL Pro-Choice California recently accused both the Sacramento Life Center and the Alternatives Pregnancy Center of failing to advertise abortions, as required by the new mandate, the report states.

Marie Leatherby, executive director of the Sacramento Life Center, told the newspaper that no one from the state has come to enforce the new law.

“It does go against what we’re all about,” Leatherby said. “Our mission is about helping women carry their children to term. So, we’re just waiting to see how the lawsuit plays out.”

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Her center is among the pro-life organizations that have filed lawsuits against the California law, saying it violates their freedom of speech and freedom of religion in the U.S. Constitution and, according to one lawsuit, the California Constitution. In December, two judges refused to stop the law from taking effect while the lawsuits continue, LifeNews reported.

The report continues:

Sacramento Life Center and Alternatives Pregnancy Center were the first two centers in the state found by NARAL Pro-Choice California to be allegedly violating Assembly Bill 775, a 2015 law authored by Democratic Assembly members David Chiu, D-San Francisco, and Autumn Burke, D-Marina Del Rey.

The city of Sacramento said it has not performed its own inspections of the clinics or taken actions against them. On Tuesday, NARAL and other abortion rights groups visited four county offices around the state to present petitions asking officials to actively enforce the law.

The new law, which went into effect on Jan. 1, requires all clinics whose primary purpose is providing family planning or pregnancy-related services to post an 8 1/2 -by-11-inch sheet of paper with 22-point type “in a conspicuous place” notifying women of available public services. Clinics also have the option to provide a printed or digital notice to each client at the time of arrival.

An attorney for the city of Sacramento, Gustavo Martinez, said they received a letter from NARAL about the two pregnancy centers, but still are working on procedures for implementing the law. He called NARAL’s accusations “premature.”

NARAL said its investigators are continuing to check the pregnancy centers for violations against the new law. The radical pro-abortion group was the key advocate for the California law, using unfounded allegations against community-supported pregnancy help.

Amy Everitt, director of the California pro-abortion group, accused pregnancy centers of “wreaking havoc and harm across our country.”

However, Matt Bowman, senior counsel for the pro-life legal group Alliance Defending Freedom, put the law’s implications into real terms for the newspaper.

“These centers are faced with an impossible choice – either refer women to have a child killed or face punishment by the state of California,” he said.

ADF and the National Institute of Family and Life Advocates are representing many of the pro-life groups in court.

The new law forces pregnancy clinics to inform women and girls that California has public programs that provide immediate free or low-cost abortions for eligible women. These faith-based medical centers must also tell their client to contact the county social services office to see if the pregnant woman qualifies for the free or cheap abortions.

The law will force 150 California pregnancy help non-profits, including the 74 state-licensed free ultrasound facilities, to give each of its clients the following disclaimer, which includes the phone number of a county social services office where a client could obtain an abortion covered by Medi-Cal.

The notice, which the law specifies must either be posted as a public notice in “22-point type,” “distributed to all clients in no less than 14-point font” or distributed digitally “at the time of check-in or arrival,” applies to all of the entities—even those licensed by the state.

The notice reads: “California has public programs that provide immediate free or low-cost access to comprehensive family planning services (including all FDA-approved methods of contraception), prenatal care, and abortion for eligible women. To determine whether you qualify, contact the county social services office at [insert the telephone number].”

Similar government-sponsored speech for pregnancy centers has been struck down as unconstitutional in Austin (TX), Baltimore and Montgomery County (MD) and New York City.