Life Legal Files U.S. Supreme Court Brief on Behalf of Priests for Life and Justice Foundation
Contact: Alexandra Snyder, Life Legal Defense Foundation
WASHINGTON, Jan. 17, 2018 /Christian Newswire
/ -- Life Legal filed an amicus brief this morning with the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of Priests for Life and the Justice Foundation's Operation Outcry in a legal challenge to a California statute that suppresses the speech of pregnancy resource centers. Priests for Life supports the work of pregnancy centers across the nation and Operation Outcry has collected over 5,000 legally admissible testimonies from women who have been hurt by abortion.
In 2015, California legislators bowed to the abortion lobby by passing the Reproductive "FACT" Act. The Act, which was written by the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL), imposes draconian requirements on speech by pregnancy resource centers, including forcing medically-licensed centers to provide referrals for state-funded abortions.
Life Legal's brief addresses the Act's provisions that apply to non-medical pregnancy centers, which are required to post large disclaimers that they are "not licensed as a medical facility by the State of California and [have] no licensed medical provider who provides or directly supervises the provision of services."
The disclaimer must be included on all print and digital advertising in every "threshold language" of the county where the center offers services. There are 13 threshold languages in Los Angeles county, including Cantonese, Mandarin, Farsi, Tagalog, Cambodian and Arabic, in addition to English and Spanish. This requirement alone would make it cost-prohibitive for centers to advertise their services. And the centers' core message would be drowned out by the sheer volume of text in the translations.
Laws that implicate speech are subject to the highest standard of judicial review, known as "strict scrutiny," that requires such laws to further a compelling state interest and be narrowly tailored to serve that interest. However, the lower courts and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals evaluated the "FACT" Act in a manner that was anything but strict—or even scrutiny.
"The state has no legitimate interest in forcing non-medical pregnancy centers to post the disclaimer, as the centers do not provide services that require them to be licensed in the first place," said Alexandra Snyder, Executive Director of the Life Legal Defense Foundation. "No other provider of goods and services is subject to a mandate of this kind. No other provider has to post—in 13 languages no less—what it is not."
Imagine churches having to post large signs stating that they have no licensed psychotherapists. Or, imagine food banks having to state in multiple languages on their websites and social media platforms that they are not licensed to provide gastroenterological procedures.
California already has regulations to address the unlawful practice of medicine without a license. Non-medical pregnancy centers that offer over-the-counter, self-administered pregnancy tests, information about pregnancy options, maternity clothes, and diapers do not provide any services that could be construed as medical.
California's "FACT" Act is anything but factual. Pregnancy centers give back millions of dollars in goods and services each year to the communities they serve. They provide tangible support for women who choose not to abort their unborn children and they offer post-abortion healing for women who have had abortions. Their success makes them a threat to the abortion lobby's financial and political interests.
We trust that the Supreme Court will recognize the "FACT" Act for what it is: a lie designed to stifle the message that women have alternatives to abortion. About Life Legal Defense Foundation
Life Legal Defense Foundation was established in 1989, and is a nonprofit organization composed of attorneys and other concerned citizens committed to giving helpless and innocent human beings of any age, and their advocates, a trained and committed voice in the courtrooms of our nation. For more information about the Life Legal Defense Foundation, visit www.lldf.org.