Pro-Life Centers Fight Against California Forced Speech Law

Sep 7, 2016

SAN FRANCISCO -- Liberty Counsel has filed its opening brief with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in Mountain Right to Life v. Kamala Harris that challenges California’s Assembly Bill 775, which imposes onerous notification and disclosure requirements on pro-life crisis pregnancy centers.

Liberty Counsel represents three pro-life crisis pregnancy centers in Southern California, all of which offer women experiencing crisis pregnancies resources, counseling, advice and alternatives to abortion. All of the centers are faith-based and will not refer women for abortions. Under the California law, His Nesting Place (Long Beach), Pregnancy and Family Resource Center (San Bernardino), Birth Choice of the Desert (La Quinta), and all licensed and unlicensed pregnancy counseling centers in the state are required to post the following government-prescribed message in their facilities and in their advertising or be fined $500 for the first violation and $1,000 for each additional violation:

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.

Centers not licensed by the State of California must post a notice that they are not a licensed medical facility.

Liberty Counsel filed a lawsuit in the Central District of California on behalf of the three crisis pregnancy centers, alleging that the law violates their First Amendment rights of free speech and freedom of religion. Liberty Counsel asked the district court for a preliminary injunction to stop implementation of the law pending the outcome of the lawsuit. The district court denied the motion for a preliminary injunction and Liberty Counsel filed an appeal of that denial with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. 

“AB 775 requires that these faith-based, crisis pregnancy centers utter a state-drafted, pro-abortion message and encourage women to commit human genocide,” said Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel. “This unbelievable government mandate is an example of the evolution of political correctness. This law forces pregnancy help centers and staff to be puppets of the state and channel the state’s abortion message. This forced speech violates the First Amendment,” said Staver.

Liberty Counsel is an international nonprofit, litigation, education, and policy organization dedicated to advancing religious freedom, the sanctity of life, and the family since 1989, by providing pro bono assistance and representation on these and related topics.