On Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear a case with enormous implications for California and the nation. At issue is whether California pro-life pregnancy centers can be forced to promote abortion.
There are well over 150 pregnancy centers in California that provide free resources to women who are facing an unplanned pregnancy. These centers support the life of the mother and child by providing free resources like ultrasounds, maternity clothing, baby clothes, parenting classes and much more.
One service most pregnancy centers provide, which has been the subject of much controversy, are referrals. Referrals might be offered for housing, career development, counseling or adoption.
But one referral you won’t find at pregnancy centers is a referral for an abortion. The mission of most pregnancy resource centers is to provide encouragement, love, and support to a woman who is experiencing anxiety or fear because of an unplanned pregnancy. These centers fill in a gap offering prenatal care and real family planning services to help women that might feel their only alternative is an abortion.
Yet, in October 2015, California’s “Reproductive FACT Act” was enacted, requiring that life-supporting pregnancy centers provide women and families a referral to state-sponsored abortion clinics. Pro-life pregnancy centers would be required to post large signs on their walls offering “free or low-cost access” to county-sponsored abortion clinics. If the pregnancy centers refuse to post a sign, they could be fined and sued by the State of California. Many pregnancy centers are faith-based, and their very mission is to protect the life of the baby by providing referrals for alternatives to abortion, like adoption.
It is not only outrageous – but also unthinkable based on our First Amendment – that pro-life organizations would be forced by the state to promote values that directly oppose their very reason for being.
That’s why Family Policy Alliance and dozens of our state allies joined in producing and presenting a powerful legal brief to the U.S. Supreme Court in advance of this case being heard. That effort was led by California Family Council, our allied organization in the Golden State.
California Family Council, which opposed the legislation in Sacramento, has engaged the full force of our alliance to sign onto an amicus brief to the Supreme Court supporting the constitutional right of pro-life organizations not to be compelled to engage in speech that violates their conscience, religious beliefs and mission statements. As the amicus states: “It is hard to imagine a greater imposition on individual conscience. It is hard to imagine a more repugnant form of forced speech” than one that forces life-giving organizations to give referrals for abortion clinics. Family Policy Alliance signed on to this legal brief, alongside 39 other state family councils.
Jonathan Keller, President of California Family, stated: “Let’s hope and pray the U.S. Supreme Court justices follow the California court’s lead and strike AB 775 [FACT Act] down as a violation of free speech rights.”
What You Can Do: Please pray for the Supreme Court hearing on Tuesday. Pray that a majority of the justices will rule based on the weight of the legal arguments in the Alliance’s brief and in the oral presentation by our ally, attorney Michael Farris with Alliance Defending Freedom. Please also continue to partner with Family Policy Alliance as we work to protect prolife organizations in your state and every state.