Suits Filed to Stop State-Compelled Speech
Sacramento, CA–Late Friday, Governor Jerry Brown signed into law a bill forcing religious pregnancy clinics to inform women and girls that California has public programs that provide immediate free or low-cost abortions for eligible women. These faith-based medical centers must also tell their client to contact the county social services office to see if the pregnant woman qualifies for the free or cheap abortions. The law goes so far as to require these pro-life clinics to give out the telephone number and address to women who come through their doors.
Lawsuits were filed by Pacific Justice Institute in federal courts in both southern and northern California in behalf of clinics. The clinics represented by PJI provide free medical services and counseling as an alternative option to abortion to women facing unwanted pregnancies. Brad Dacus, president of the PJI stated, ”Forcing a religious pro-life charity to proclaim a pro-abortion declaration is on its face an egregious violation of both the free speech and free exercise clauses of the First Amendment to the Constitution. We will not rest until this government mandate is completely halted.”
Claims for violation of freedom of speech and the free exercise of religion are cited in papers filed with the federal courts. The complaint (see below) alleges that the law forces Christian medical clinics to proclaim a government message for which the clinics disagree. “The context of delivering this government message is the center of a public debate over the morality and efficacy of abortion, for which these clinics provide alternatives,” the lawsuit reads. Kevin Snider is the PJI attorney who is serving as lead counsel on the case. Snider drafted the complaint which he filed shortly after the Governor signed the bill into law.
Pacific Justice Institute is a non-profit legal organization dedicated to defending religious, parental, and other constitutional rights.
P.O. Box 276600 Sacramento, CA 95827-6600
Phone: (916) 857-6900, Fax: (916) 857-6902