California required licensed pregnancy centers to post a notice reminding women that they may kill their unborn babies and do so for “free” or at “low-cost” on the taxpayers’ tab.
Pregnancy centers that seek to save unborn lives naturally object to such a requirement.
Several centers sued the state for violation of free speech but lost in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. They’ve appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Another California pregnancy center sued the state on the same grounds. The state asked a Riverside County Superior Court judge to dismiss the case, and the judge refused in July.
Judge Gloria Trask contended that the required notice that forces pregnancy centers to promote unborn babies’ deaths isn’t politically neutral, as the state claimed.
“The State commands the clinics to post specific directions for whom to contact to obtain an abortion. It forces the clinic to point the way to the abortion clinic and can leave patients with the belief they were referred to an abortion provider by that clinic.”
The same judge this week ruled against California. Judge Trask said the law violates the state constitution’s freedom of speech protection by forcing pregnancy centers to promote a message. From Life News:
A permanent injunction that applies to over 200 privately funded pregnancy centers in the state that offer free alternatives to abortion, the ruling puts a stop to the state’s so-called “Reproductive FACT Act”—a 2015 law that mandated pro-life centers must post signage and inform clients about the state’s taxpayer-funded abortions and birth control through its Medi-Cal program.
“We are thrilled with Judge Trask’s ruling, which is a huge victory for free speech,” Scott Scharpen, the head administrator of “Go Mobile For Life,” a mobile ultrasound unit that serves women in Riverside County, said. “The whole notion of being compelled to share information with our patients about abortion availability, which is contrary to our mission and purpose, is fundamentally wrong.
“Lives will be saved because of this ruling.”
Judge Trask wrote that the state has other ways to remind women of their right to kill their babies besides forcing pregnancy centers to do it.
“Compelled speech must be subject to reasonable limitation. This statute compels the clinic to speak words with which it profoundly disagrees when the State has numerous alternative methods of publishing its message. In this case, however virtuous the State’s ends, they do not justify its means.”
The state, with its “virtuous” end to promote the death of the unborn, likely will appeal. The nation’s highest court will decide whether to hear this case, the previous one, or both.