9th Circuit judges vote for mandated speech at pregnancy clinics.
A three-judge panel of 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the state of California can impose speech on pro-life pregnancy centers, requiring them to inform visitors about the state’s abortion offerings.
However, the legal challenge to the law, which took effect at the beginning of the year, will continue.
The issue at hand as the date of the law’s enactment approached was whether an injunction would protect the centers’ constitutional speech rights while the case is fought.
The San Francisco Chronicle reported 9th Circuit Judges Edward Leavy, Milan Smith and Sandra Ikuta said the state-mandated notices can be imposed because the clinics probably would not succeed in their fight against the requirement.
That’s even though similar plans have been struck down by federal courts elsewhere.
The law now requires religious groups to tell women: “California has public programs that provide immediate free or low-cost access to comprehensive family planning services (including allocating FDA-approved methods of contraception), prenatal care, and abortion for eligible women. To determine whether you qualify, contact the county social services office at (insert the telephone number).”
The alternative is fines that begin in the hundreds of dollars.
The pro-life centers had fought to block implementation because they argue they never would voluntarily present that message to the public, making it forced speech, which previous court cases have found to be unconstitutional.
Lawyer Francis Manion of the American Center for Law and Justice, one of the organizations that has sued over the issue, told the Chronicle the case will continue.
Crisis pregnancy centers, of which there are thousands across the nation, offer counseling and services to pregnant women, such as pregnancy tests and ultrasound examinations.
Their reason for existence is to oppose abortion.
California’s new requirement, however, demands they provide information about abortion services to the public.
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