The current American political climate is often characterized with two words-partisan politics. This phrase carries a lot of negativity with it, maybe more so than it deserves. In today’s political environment, we have two parties that are so ideologically separated on so many issues that compromise, though it is often important and needed, is not a viable option and party lines must be kept.
What I am not ok with, however, is when these ideologies become so consuming that law is disregarded or, even worse, misused to promote ideologies and crush opposing stances. It is a mockery of our political system when it is twisted and manipulated for such means. This is the part of the ideologically intense political climate that I do not like, but it happens on a frequent basis and one the most recent examples of it is close to home. San Francisco to be exact. It is in this city that a number of incredibly partisan officials are seeking to curb and attack the multiple crisis pregnancy centers in the city. They are going about this through two methods.
The first tactic the city is employing is an ordinance that was introduced to the board of supervisors, Tuesday, by supervisor Malia Cohen. The purpose of this proposed law is to make it illegal for crisis pregnancy centers to falsely advertise about their services. Now while there is nothing wrong with making sure people do not falsely advertise it is quite clear this law is designed to give the crisis pregnancy resource centers trouble, as evidenced through a few facts.
The first clue that would make one believe this law goes beyond the normal protecting and serving the citizens of San Francisco is that the law is unnecessary. It is unnecessary because the law already exists. An overarching and more superior law of the state of California already prohibits false advertising. So what does this mean? First, it means that under the state of California’s law regarding false advertising, the crisis pregnancy centers are operating legally and thus the city of San Francisco has taken it upon itself to make a more targeted and abusive law. And second, they are obviously not worried about the issue of false advertising in general, but, like I just said, are targeting a specific group based on ideological stances and partisan politics. They are abusing the system.
Another action taken by the city, which also demonstrates the city using the political system as a partisan weapon, was carried out by the city attorney Dennis Herrera, who is also a candidate for mayor. The most egregious offender of these centers, in his opinion, is the center First Resort. In response to First Resort’s “false advertising”, his office mailed the center a letter asking them desist in their misleading practices. This alone is quite telling about the whole situation.
San Francisco believes that these crisis pregnancy centers are falsely advertising and that the First Resort is the most egregious of all, but the funny thing is that false advertising is something one would be hard pressed to pin on First Resort. They are being accused by the city as portraying an image of being involved in abortion referrals, but their statement of purpose states that they are a Christian group devoted to an abortion free world and their website clearly advertises that they “provide counseling and medical care to women who are making decisions about unplanned pregnancies.” That sounds pretty clear to me.
And last, but not least telling about the city’s true intentions is the language employed by the officials in question. Malia Cohen, the supervisor who authored the bill stated that, “As a city, we have a responsibility to protect our most vulnerable residents,” and accused the centers of pushing “anti-abortion propaganda and mistruths on unsuspecting women.” Attorney Dennis Herrera called the centers “right wing, and politically motivated” and stated that their purpose was “to dissuade women from seeking their constitutionally protected rights.”
Ironically though, Herrera’s statements would seem to apply more to his own actions, as his actions, along with the Board of Supervisors, is left wing, politically motivated yet politically abusive, and this law that is being proposed is very questionable when it comes to constitutionality. A case last month in New York, and two cases last year, one in Baltimore and one in Austin, Texas all went in favor of crisis pregnancy centers when the three judges declared that laws, much like the one proposed in San Francisco, were a violation of the center’s 1st Amendment rights.
The moves San Francisco city are trying to pull are driven by far left ideology, they abuse and twist the political and legal systems, and, if recent precedent is any indicator, they are unconstitutional. These centers are active in the fight against abortion, and they, like the rest of the pro-life movement are starting to shake things up. The other side sees, knows it, and is scared. This is when the low blows, like the ones San Francisco just threw, start flying.