Shannon Bream of Fox News has just reported that the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld a California law mandating that pro-life pregnancy care centers advertise abortion services.
The law that went into effect early this year requires pregnancy care centers to post a notice including this language: “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.”
Alliance Defending Freedom represents the plaintiffs challenging the law in National Institute of Family and Life Advocates v. Harris. ADF’s Matt Bowman said today,
“It’s bad enough if the government tells you what you can’t say, but a law that tells you what you must say—under threat of severe punishment—is even more unjust and dangerous. In this case, political allies of abortionists are seeking to punish pro-life pregnancy centers, which offer real hope and help to women. Forcing these centers to promote abortion and recite the government’s preferred views is a clear violation of their constitutionally protected First Amendment freedoms. That’s why other courts around the country have halted these kinds of measures and why we will be discussing the possibility of appeal with our clients.”
Charles Donovan of the Lozier Institute wrote about the law upon its passage.
“The new law’s text was reportedly written by a pro-abortion pressure group. It singles out pro-life facilities. The intent is clearly to put them out of business. Under penalty of crippling fines of $500 and $1,000 per “offense,” the law would make licensed pro-life medical clinics directly contradict their baby-saving mission, and violate their staffers’ consciences, by advertising for abortion providers.
“…What? you ask? No government body would dare impose such a totalitarian violation of Americans’ individual consciences? No lawmaker would dare coerce a group to do the exact opposite of what its whole purpose is? No politician would dare force private entities to refer clients to their competition? No law could tell selected private groups they must utter government-mandated speech, especially speech they regard as damaging to the person receiving it? And surely no court would uphold such an obviously unconstitutional trampling of individual liberty?
“But unbelievably, all this is exactly what has happened.”