Pregnancy Center Will Defy New California Law Forcing Centers to Promote Abortions

State   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Jun 24, 2016   |   12:59PM   |   Sacramento, CA

A Redding, California pregnancy center says it will not comply with a new state law that forces it to advertise and promote abortions.

Few, if any, pregnancy resource centers are complying with the onerous new California law while it is being challenged in the courts. The radical, pro-abortion law took effect in December, forcing about 150 pro-life non-profits to choose between advertising free and low-cost abortions through the state or facing fines of up to $1,000 if they do not comply.

According to the Record Searchlight, the Care Net pregnancy centers in Redding and Red Bluff, California do not plan to post the required abortion signs in their centers or refer women for abortions through the state Medi-Cal program.

Shelly Gibbs, executive director of the Redding center, said they do refer women to state programs for help with pregnancy and parenting.

“We’re just not using language about ‘this is how you get an abortion,’” she said. “We focus our time solely on how we can support families.”

The Care Net centers are among the pro-life groups that filed lawsuits against the new state law, arguing that it violates their First Amendment freedom of speech. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments on the case last week, according to the report.

Kevin T. Snider, an attorney with the Pacific Justice Institute who is representing Care Net, told the news outlet that the new law is unconstitutional because it compels speech.



“We believe that right to free speech is strong in this area,” Snider said. “We believe eventually that our clients’ rights will be vindicated.”

The Care Net centers are not the only ones refusing to comply with the pro-abortion law. KPCC reported that six of eight Los Angeles-area pregnancy centers refused to follow the abortion-promoting law. In March, the Sacramento Bee also reported at least two pregnancy centers in the Sacramento area were not following the pro-abortion law.

The radical pro-abortion group NARAL is behind the compliance investigations. It pushed for the new law, using unfounded allegations against community-supported pregnancy help. NARAL recently said its investigators are continuing to check pregnancy centers for violations.

Snider pointed out that NARAL is not a government organization and does not have “authority or responsibility in this area” to be conducting the checks. Currently, there have not been any reports of pregnancy centers being fined for violations of the law.

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].”

Several pro-life organizations 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.

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.