SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The governor of California has signed a bill into law that requires pro-life pregnancy centers to inform all clients that they can obtain an abortion at state-funded facilities.
As previously reported, the bill 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).”
SupportBlack Women for Wellness and NARAL Pro-Choice California, served as co-sponsors of the proposal. Over 100 religious leaders also signed a letter expressing support for the legislation. Those who refuse to comply will be fined $500 for the first offense, and $1,000 thereafter.
The bill passed the Assembly in May and the Senate in September, moving on to the desk of Gov. Jerry Brown. He signed the legislation into law without comment on Friday.
“Today, California became the first state in the nation to raise the standard for informing women and mitigate the dangerous impact of anti-choice crisis pregnancy centers,” said Amy Everitt, director of NARAL Pro-Choice California, in a statement. “This is an exciting victory for supporters of true reproductive freedom, and just one more step in our campaign to expose CPCs and hold them accountable for their dangerous tactics.”
However, others characterize the legislation as an assault on the First Amendment.
“Does the government have a right to tell a newspaper what to write, a preacher what to preach, a private school what to teach? Of course not,” stated Assemblywoman Shannon Grove, R-Bakersfield. “So why is it okay for the government to force pro-life pregnancy centers against their will to advertise and promote government abortion services?”
“To force these centers to post and to distribute how to obtain free abortions cuts to the core of their founding purpose and their reason for being,” said Assemblyman Jim Patterson, R-Fresno, a co-founder of a pregnancy center and father of two adopted children.