By Nigel Boys
Edmund Gerald “Jerry” Brown, the Governor of California, signed the Reproductive FACT Act into law Friday, which forces pregnancy centers and state-licensed medical clinics to distribute information on how to obtain state-funded abortions.
The 77-year-old San Francisco native approved the act authored by Democratic Assemblyman David Chiu, which takes issue with pregnancy centers which don’t provide abortion referrals. The new law has been dubbed the “bully bill” by pro-life activists.
The Christian News Network reports that Chiu declared that the goal of almost 200 licensed and unlicensed California crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs) was to stop women from being fully informed about their reproductive rights. He added that while the CPC’s main aim was to discourage and prevent women seeking abortions, they pretended to serve as full-service women’s health clinics.
Licensed pregnancy care centers must now provide the following message to its clients in print after the passing of the Reproductive FACT Act:
“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.” It concludes: “To determine whether you qualify, contact the county social services office at (telephone number).”
Those who refuse to comply with the act, which was co-sponsored on its proposal by Support Black Women for Wellness and NARAL Pro-Choice California, will be fined $500 for the first offense and $1,000 for consequent offenses.
“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, after Brown signed the legislation into law without comment on Friday. “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,” added the director of NARAL Pro-Choice California, in a statement.
The Washington Times reports that along with unlicensed centers, which must inform clients of their status, all centers are now required to offer information about affordable contraception, abortion and prenatal care.
NARAL estimates that there are over 4,000 pregnancy crisis or help centers around the U.S. which offer services such as pregnancy and STD testing, ultrasounds and counseling, but no information about where or how to obtain an abortion. They claim that employees imply the facilities provide a range of medical care, but are merely persuading women to continue with their pregnancies.
The California Pro-choice organization also claims that these centers imply they have credentials they don’t possess and provide false information about the risks of having an abortion or of using birth control.
While organizations such as Planned Parenthood are pleased with the new law in California, others, such as Assemblywoman Shannon Grove, R-Bakersfield and Assemblyman Jim Patterson, R-Fresno, are certainly not amused.
“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,” Shannon stated. “So why is it okay for the government to force pro-life pregnancy centers against their will to advertise and promote government abortion services?”
Patterson, a co-founder of a pregnancy center and father of two adopted children, added, “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.”