Despite obvious infringement on free speech, the protests of pro-lifers, and government intrusion on private matters, the California bill aimed at forcing pro-life pregnancy centers to promote abortion has cleared yet another hurdle.
AB 775 is gaining traction in its race to become law. On Tuesday, the Assembly Judiciary Committee passed the bill 7 to 3, edging the measure closer to a full vote.
“The bill, euphemistically named ‘The Reproductive FACT Act’ by co-authors David Chiu (D) and Autumn R. Burke (D) is likely to pass with the committee’s approval, placing it before the 80-member Assembly body at a to-be-announced date.
“Nicknamed the ‘Bully Bill’ by pregnancy help organization leaders in the Stop AB 775 State Committee, the proposed legislation was met with opposition from 117 Californians—representing 26 non-profit pregnancy help organizations.
“Meanwhile, 15 citizens represented their support of the bill.”
However, the bill has some well-known supporters, including NARAL Pro-Choice California, Planned Parenthood, and even the state Attorney General and the Los Angeles mayor. At issue is the statement that pro-life pregnancy centers would be forced to promote, as well as the implications of the statement:
“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.”
Sheldon Hadley, a pro-lifer who sits on the boards of California pregnancy care centers, said:
“This bill forces all California pregnancy centers to refer for abortions,” Hadley said. “The bill targets pregnancy centers, and pregnancy centers alone… The authors of AB 775 know the Hyde/Weldon Amendment prohibits abortion referrals and discrimination or forced abortion referrals, and therefore were careful to avoid using the word ‘referral’ in the bill. But a rose is still a rose under any other name.”
Assemblyman James Gallagher (R) posed important questions to the authors of AB775, David Chiu (D) and Autumn R. Burke (D):
“Why doesn’t your notice say, ‘adoption’ in it? ‘Free or low-cost access to comprehensive family planning services, prenatal care, adoption, counseling.’ I don’t see any of those services listed in your notice.
“You’re saying that these private (entities) who receive no funding—no government funding whatsoever—they’re completely private, they have to tell about the government-funded programs that are out there, but the same is not true of the government programs. They don’t have to say, ‘There’s these groups out there who have qualified, licensed people.’”
But the bill has no equal access to pro-lifers; it does not compel abortion facilities to refer for adoption or sell prenatal services as they do abortion services. The bill, as opponents have noted from the start, would force speech on pro-lifers that promote the very thing their religious and moral values oppose.
All Californians are encouraged to contact their legislators, and may find that information here.
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