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Some startling revelations from a Senate hearing this week were totally ignored by the major broadcast networks – to no one's surprise, says a media watchdog.
A California-based legal organization has announced it's going to court in that state to fight for the First Amendment.
Brad Dacus of the Pacific Justice Institute says PJI immediately headed to court after Gov. Jerry Brown (pictured below) signed a controversial bill into law that forces pro-life pregnancy centers to act as a referral service for abortions.
AB 775, known as the Reproductive FACT ACT, requires all licensed pregnancy centers to post the following notice:
“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].”
Abortion facilities, however, aren't required to post similar instructions for women who enter a Planned Parenthood facility or similar clinics.
The bill can be read here.
The pro-life clinics, often referred to as "crisis pregnancy centers," counsel girls and women who have an unplanned pregnancy, with the stated goal of saving the life of the unborn child while comforting the girl or woman.
Depending on the clinic, services range from pregnancy tests and ultrasounds to adoption services. Most services are usually free.
The bill's sponsor, Democrat David Chiu, claimed that the pregnancy centers are working to "mislead women" to achieve their "political ideology," apparently a reference to their pro-life beliefs.
California pro-lifers, however, nicknamed the legislation "the bully bill," arguing that posting the statement violates their conscience by acting as an abortion referral service.
The new law may not go far. Similar laws in Austin, Texas and Baltimore, Maryland have been ruled unconstitutional in federal courts but Dacus is concerned that California's liberal federal courts may uphold the new law.
PJI filed lawsuits in federal court on behalf of two pregnancy centers. Two suits were filed, one for a clinic in Northern California and one for Southern California.
"This is the same as telling Alcoholics Anonymous, before your meetings, you have to announce where people can go to get free alcohol at the nearest liquor store," Dacus says of the new state law.
"It is a clear overreach of government," he says, "and we at the Pacific Justice Institute intend to halt this egregious violation of free speech and the free exercise of religion."
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