In 2018, on his last day on the Supreme Court, Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote a concurring opinion in which he described a 2015 California law known ironically as the “California Reproductive FACT Act” as a “paradigmatic example of the serious threat presented when government seeks to impose its own message in the place of individual speech, thought, and expression.”
In a nutshell under the umbrella of the so-called “Reproductive FACT Act,” the state of California was requiring both pregnancy help centers that offer medical services and those who don’t (as one attorney put it) to “act as a ventriloquist’s dummy for a government message”—abortion.
The suit, brought by the National Institute of Family and Life Advocates, challenged a California law requiring licensed pregnancy resource centers to disclose where women could receive free or low-cost abortions, and requiring unlicensed centers to insert state-dictated material in their advertising, thus violating the First Amendment rights of all pregnancy resource centers in the state.
The basic argument for the Reproductive FACT Act is that the pregnancy help centers were allegedly misleading women, a charge for which there is precious little evidence. As for those who were not licensed medical centers, they had an obligation to all-but-scream to pregnant women that they weren’t licensed medical facilities.
California, of course, bitterly decried the 5-4 decision in National Institute of Family and Life Advocates v. Becerra. Four years later, they are still angry.
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With the possibility that the High Court may overturn Roe v. Wade, California Attorney General Rob Bonta is in a lather. There are more crisis pregnancy centers in California than there are “abortion care clinics,” Bonta lamented during a press conference in San Diego Wednesday.
“Crisis pregnancy centers dissuade people from obtaining abortions,” Bianca Bruno reported for Court House News. “They are often located near reproductive health clinics.”
But without the California Reproductive FACT Act, California now “must embark on a campaign warning against misinformation crisis pregnancy centers provide to people seeking abortion and reproductive health care.”
With the state’s wide-open abortion laws, California is expected an influx of women.
“If Roe v. Wade is overturned or severely gutted, as we are expecting, the consequences are going to be devastating,” Vernita Gutierrez, vice president of external affairs for Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest said in an interview with Courthouse News.
“People are going to be traveling from other places to states like California seeking abortion care, so it’s going to be even more important that they are able to get factual information – they’re already going to be encountering a lot of barriers,” she added.
In fact, crisis pregnancy centers/pregnancy help centers do not routinely pass along “misinformation.” This canard is a staple among pro-abortionists. However, because of the Supreme Court’s decision, they are not requiring unlicensed centers to insert state-dictated material in their advertising.
Bonta say “the substance of what was being sought by the FACT Act is something that remains true today”: pregnancy help centers do not (surprise, surprise) perform abortions.
LifeNews.com Note: Dave Andrusko is the editor of National Right to Life News and an author and editor of several books on abortion topics. This post originally appeared in at National Right to Life News Today —- an online column on pro-life issues.