California Law Forces Pregnancy Centers to Promote Abortions

Sharolyn Smith

In late December, two district court judges ruled that a new law requiring pro-life pregnancy centers to promote abortion can go into effect. The law will force 150 local pregnancy support centers, including 74 state-licensed facilities, to give all clients information that includes the phone number of a county social services office that provides abortions covered by Medi-Cal. The centers could face fines of $500 for a first offense and $1,000 for subsequent offenses.

The law was signed by Governor Jerry Brown in October. The Pacific Justice Institute (PJI) and the American Center for Law and Justice filed the lawsuits representing the pregnancy centers. While U.S. District Judge Kimberly Mueller agreed with PJI that the law raised “serious questions” concerning First Amendment violations, she determined that the clinics’ interest in refusing to promote abortion were outweighed by the State’s interest in ensuring that women receive information about other options. PJI President Brad Dacus argued, “This is an existential threat to pro-life clinics. The notion that government can compel religious non-profits to promote practices antithetical to their values is chilling.”

An appeal has been filed. [;; Pacific Justice Institute, 12-22-15]


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