ACLJ in Court on Behalf of Crisis Pregnancy Centers | American Center for Law and Justice
  Search  |  Login  |  Register

ACLJ Profile Completion


ACLJ in Court for Crisis Pregnancy Centers

By Francis J. Manion1466007438142

Yesterday I had the honor of presenting argument to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco on behalf of three California crisis pregnancy centers (CPC) challenging that state’s recently enacted Reproductive FACT Act. (A video of the argument can be viewed here.)  Our clients, LivingWell Medical Clinic, Pregnancy Care Center North Coast, and Confidence Pregnancy Center, are nonprofit pregnancy resource centers that exist to help women facing unplanned pregnancies by offering counseling about options, pregnancy tests, limited obstetrical ultrasounds, and material assistance. All services are provided free of charge. Because our clients believe that abortion is a bad option for women, they tailor their approach in a way that focuses on encouraging women to accept the gift of new life and bring their babies to term.

The centers do not refer for or counsel in favor of abortion at any time. The new California law, however, compels them to post a sign in their waiting rooms, or hand to each potential client a notice that tells them that their state government will provide them with a free abortion (assuming they meet eligibility requirements) and tells them to call the phone number of a local social services office for more information. In other words, these centers, whose very existence is premised on a mission to discourage abortion (and encourage life) are forced – at the very outset of their contact with women in crisis – to become cheerleaders for NARAL, the co-sponsor and probable author of the FACT Act.

Along with Kevin Snider of the Pacific Justice Center and Matt Bowman of the Alliance Defending Freedom, who represent other California CPCs, we presented arguments focusing on how the FACT Act violates our clients’ Free Speech rights as protected by the First Amendment. The Supreme Court has long held that, under the First Amendment, just as government is not allowed to tell citizens what they cannot say, even so it cannot dictate to citizens what they must say. And any exceptions to this general rule require that speech restricting – or compelling – laws be subjected to (at least) exacting scrutiny that asks whether the government has tried alternative, less restrictive, ways of attaining its goals. (You can read our legal briefs here and here.) Federal courts in both New York (2d Circuit) and Maryland (4th Circuit) have, in recent years, upheld injunctions against laws similar to the FACT Act, pointing out that the government has ample means to spread its own message without conscripting crisis pregnancy centers to speak that message for them. So far, however, the lower courts in California have not followed the lead of those other courts and have denied requests for injunctions made by our clients and other CPCs. We are arguing that the 9th Circuit should reverse the lower courts and protect the First Amendment rights of the CPCs.

Some of the questions from the Court at yesterday’s argument highlighted that the State of California really doesn’t appear to have given much thought to alternative ways to get its message out about public assistance available for so-called “reproductive services” such as abortion. Rather, urged on by the abortion partisans of NARAL, the State has chosen to sacrifice the First Amendment freedoms of abortion opponents by forcing them to act as ventriloquist’s dummies for a message they consider harmful to the women they seek to help.

 We are cautiously optimistic that – whether at the 9th Circuit or, if necessary, at the Supreme Court of the United States – the First Amendment rights of California’s CPCs will be vindicated.

Stop the Shutdown of Pro-Life Centers

Pro Life  Signatures


Receive the latest news, updates, and contribution opportunities from ACLJ.

Make this a monthly tax-deductible gift.

We’re engaged in a comprehensive legal strategy to defend pro-life pregnancy centers. Stand with us. Have your gift doubled today. Have your gift doubled through our Matching Challenge.

Email Address is required.
First Name is required.
Last Name is required.
Credit Card Number is required.
Verification Code is required.
Expiration Month is required.
Expiration Year is required.
Receive the latest news, updates, and contribution opportunities from ACLJ.
Encourage your friends to sign and donate by sharing this petition.
Latest in
Pro Life

Abortion-Related Businesses to “Permanently Close”

By Edward White1513093058281

From Day One , the ACLJ has been aggressively calling for Congress and federal and state law enforcement to investigate Big Abortion for the horrific practice of selling aborted babies’ body parts (fetal tissue) for profit. It’s illegal, but until recently has gone on unhindered from the fear of...

read more

Planned Parenthood Under DOJ Investigation

By Michelle Terry1512764518767

In confirmation of news we brought you not long ago, it has now been verified by multiple news outlets that the Department of Justice is, in fact, investigating Planned Parenthood and its illegal practices, such as profiting from the sale of aborted fetal tissue. The Chairman of the Senate...

read more

ACLJ Files Second Abortion-Pill Mandate Amicus Brief

By Geoffrey Surtees1512748800000

This week, the ACLJ filed a second amicus brief in support of the Administration’s recently issued Interim Final Rules granting religious and moral exemptions to the HHS abortion-pill Mandate. Our first brief was filed last week in the case of Pennsylvania v. Trump . Like Pennsylvania, California...

read more

ACLJ Official Comments About Abortion-Pill Mandate

By Geoffrey Surtees1512494683962

When the Obama Administration first sought to coerce religious organizations, family-owned businesses, and non-profit advocacy groups into facilitating the provision of morally objectionable drugs and services (including abortion pills) as part of ObamaCare, the ACLJ took action. In addition to...

read more