Published: Wed, November 15, 2017
Medicine | By Melba Vasquez

Supreme Court to Weigh Rules for Anti-Abortion Pregnancy Centers in California

Supreme Court to Weigh Rules for Anti-Abortion Pregnancy Centers in California

In 2015, California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law the Reproductive FACT Act.

The challengers say the law violates the First amendment because it forces the faith-based pregnancy centers to send a message that conflicts with their aim of encouraging childbirth, not abortion.

University of California, Davis, law professor Aaron Tang said a ruling in favor of the anti-abortion pregnancy centers could "cut both ways" in the broader abortion debate because it would suggest that pro-life state Legislatures violate the First Amendment rights of abortion providers.

"California has public programs that provide immediate free or low-priced access to comprehensive family planning services (including all FDA-approved methods of contraception), prenatal care, and abortion for eligible women", the bulletin reads. Some are medically licensed facilities, others are not.

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The law, called the Reproductive FACT Act, requires crisis pregnancy clinics to post a bulletin informing patients that the state offers subsidized abortion access.

Similar laws adopted in NY and Maryland were struck down by the 2nd and 4th U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeal, though the 9th Circuit upheld California's law in 2016.

Furthermore, he said the federal district court and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the arguments of the plaintiffs.

A spokesman for California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, who is defending the law, could not immediately be reached for comment. Clinics that fail to post the required state notice face civil penalties. That's the question the Supreme Court is taking on, in a new case it accepted on Monday. Last year, they delivered their most significant ruling on abortion in a generation, striking down restrictions on Texas clinics and doctors that had created roadblocks for thousands of women.

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The US Supreme Court affirmed the right to abortion nationwide in 1973 but the landmark legislation has come under threat since President Donald Trump took office in January.

If the court strikes down California's law on free speech grounds, it could make it harder for Democratic-leaning states to regulate anti-abortion pregnancy centers.

The case will be one of the most closely watched of the court's current term, which runs through June.

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