US

Calif. Pro-Life Centers Fight Law Forcing Them To Post Abortion Message

Reuters

Mary Lou Lang Contributor

Pro-life pregnancy centers in Southern California are fighting against the state’s law which requires them to post a message about abortion in their centers and now have taken their challenge to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

An opening brief was filed with the court in Mountain Right to Life v. Kamala Harris, California’s attorney general, on behalf of three faith-based centers represented by Liberty Counsel. They are challenging California’s Assembly Bill 775 which they claim imposes onerous notification and disclosure requirements on the pro-life centers.

A lawsuit was initially filed in the Central District of California on behalf of the three centers, claiming the law violates their First Amendment rights of free speech and freedom of religion. That court denied a motion for a preliminary injunction to stop the law’s implementation pending the outcome of the lawsuit.

“This court should overturn the district court’s denial of Plaintiffs’ motion for a preliminary injunction against AB775, which compels pregnancy care centers such as Plaintiffs to post and disseminate government-prescribed messages that conflict with the messages communicated by the centers,” the opening brief filed with the Ninth Circuit states.

“AB 775 requires that these faith-based, crisis pregnancy centers utter a state-drafted, pro-abortion message and encourage women to commit human genocide,” said Mat Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel, in a prepared statement on Wednesday.

“This unbelievable government mandate is an example of the evolution of political correctness. This law forces pregnancy help centers and staff to be puppets of the state and channel the state’s abortion message. This forced speech violates the First Amendment,” said Staver.

The pro-life centers will not refer women for abortions. Under the law, the following message must be posted in their centers and in advertising messages:  “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.”

If the faith-based centers do not post the government’s message, they can be fined $500 for the first violation and $1,000 for each additional violation.