CA judge asked to stop law requiring pregnancy centers to advertise abortion

taxpayers, california

NOTE: This article has been edited from its original form. An initial report from Courthouse News Service appears to have mistaken a motion filed for the injunction as a ruling on the injunction. 

Courthouse News Service (CNS) reported that a judge in California had sided with pregnancy help organizations effected by the so-called “Reproductive FACT Act,” granting an injunction against the law Friday afternoon. It now appears that report was inaccurate.

Sources close to the situation did not confirm CNS’s Nick Cahill’s report, which was published Friday afternoon and stayed live until Monday morning, when CNS removed the article. CNS then replaced the article with a link to the motion for an injunction, which was filed by Pacific Justice Institute on behalf of two pregnancy help organizations in California.

It is not believed that any action has yet been taken on the motion for the injunction, which can be found here.

Signed into law Oct. 9 by Gov. Jerry Brown, the legislation mandates that 150 pro-life pregnancy help locations—including 74 state-licensed medical facilities offering free ultrasound—post signage and distribute a disclaimer that pro-life opponents to the bill say violates free speech and free exercise of religion guarantees of the First Amendment.

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. 

“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].”

Meanwhile, pregnancy help centers that do not offer medical services will be required to post the following signage in two “clear and conspicuous” places—“in the entrance of the facility and at least one additional area where clients wait to receive services,” as well as in “any print and digital advertising materials including Internet Web sites”.

The font required is to be “in no less than 48-point type” and will read as follows: 

“This facility is not licensed as a medical facility by the State of California and has no licensed medical provider who provides or directly supervises the provision of services.”

Filed by the Pacific Justice Institute on behalf of A Woman’s Friend Pregnancy Resource Clinic and Crisis Pregnancy Center of Northern California, the injunction seeks to bar the law from being enacted on its scheduled Jan. 1, 2016 date.

Paralleled by a lawsuit from Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) and National Institute for Family and Life Advocates (NIFLA), the injunction is the first step to seeing the law struck down as unconstitutional.

Similar legislation has failed to pass constitutional muster in New York City, Austin (TX), Washington state, Baltimore (MD) and Montgomery County (MD).

This January, a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request from revealed the collusion between Montgomery County elected officials and staffers at pro-abortion NARAL Pro-Choice Maryland that eventually cost county taxpayers over $300,000 by the time the municipality stopped its battle to preserve an unconstitutional requirement on pregnancy centers.

Similarly, records obtained by Heartbeat International in June revealed that California’s Reproductive FACT Act, also sponsored by NARAL’s state chapter, was partially based upon a State Assembly-commissioned report from UC Hastings College of Law that strategizes how lawmakers could crack down on community-based non-profit pregnancy help organizations.

Editor’s Note: This article was first published at Pregnancy Help News on November 16, 2015, and is reprinted here with permission. You can subscribe to Pregnancy Help News here.

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