SACRAMENTO — A California legislative committee approved a bill last week that would require pregnancy centers to inform all clients that they can obtain an abortion at state-funded facilities.
AB 775 is known in the legislature as the Reproductive FACT Act, but to pro-lifers, it is dubbed the “bully bill.” The text of the act states that its author, Democratic Assemblyman David Chiu, takes issue with pregnancy centers that don’t provide abortion referrals to women.
“The author contends that, unfortunately, there are nearly 200 licensed and unlicensed clinics known as crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs) in California whose goal is to interfere with women’s ability to be fully informed and exercise their reproductive rights, and that CPCs pose as full-service women’s health clinics, but aim to discourage and prevent women from seeking abortions,” it reads.
The legislation therefore requires that licensed pregnancy care centers to provide the following message to clients in print: “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 (telephone number).”
Unlicensed facilities must post a notice stating that they are “not licensed as a medical facility by the State of California and has no licensed medical provider who provides or directly supervises the provision of services.” The message must be posted inside of the facility, on the center’s website and in all advertisements.
SupportBlack Women for Wellness and NARAL Pro-Choice California, served as co-sponsors of the proposal. Those who refuse to comply will be fined $500 for the first offense, and $1,000 thereafter.
Last Tuesday, approximately 80 people testified in opposition to the bill, while 24 supporters spoke in favor of its passage. Representatives from Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), California Coalition of Pregnancy Clinics and Centers, and Real Options Pregnancy Medical Clinics were among those who spoke against the proposal, as well as 13 nurses and four post-abortive women.
“This is a bully bill,” said Assemblyman Jim Patterson, a co-founder of a pregnancy center and father of two adopted children. “This is an effort to strip out free speech and to strip out religious practice rights. This is an exceptionally dangerous, unconstitutional effort that must be defeated.”
CareNet, a pregnancy center chain, further outlined on its website why they believe that the bill is dangerous.
“Pregnancy centers exist to provide an alternative and opposing message to abortion profiteers, and promoters of casual sex outside of marriage,” wrote guest poster Josh McClure. “State government should not pass laws tipping the scales for women’s choice. AB 775 is another example of government over reach, and legislation of morality. That is, the mandated acceptance of the morality of abortion, casual sex and abortifacient birth control.”
“AB 775 specifically targets Christian pro life pregnancy centers to: silence their voice of opposition, encourage potential clients to look to state funded programs that promote abortion and abortifacient birth control, and lastly to force the center and it’s volunteers to violate their conscience by referring for an abortion and abortifacient birth control,” he said.
McClure stated that he found hypocrisy with the proposal as it only pertains to pregnancy centers and does not require abortion facilities to offer pro-life options.
“If lawmakers in Sacramento are concerned about this, shouldn’t abortion providers post a sign notifying their clients of their rights, and alternative programs that would allow them to exercise their reproductive options?” he asked.
But despite opposition, the bill was approved by the Assembly Committee 11-5 and now may advance for further consideration.