The state if California’s attempt to force pro life pregnancy centers to pay for abortions is culminated in a big backfire following a loss at the Supreme Court last June. The state of California has been ordered to pay $399,000 to three pro life pregnancy centers for forcing pro life pregnancy centers to pay for abortions through a state law known as the California Reproductive FACT Act.
In a 5-4 ruling released June 26, 2018, the Supreme Court struck down a California law that forced pregnancy care centers to promote abortions. Oral arguments for the case NIFLA v. Becerra were heard earlier that year.
Justice Clarence Thomas wrote the opinion for the majority which included Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Kennedy, Alito and Gorsuch. The California Reproductive FACT Act was ruled to be unconstitutional, and a violation of the First Amendment’s free speech clause. Justices Breyer, Ginsburg, Sotomayor, and Kagan argued in their dissenting opinions that the pregnancy care centers should be forced to advertise abortions.
Justice Clarence Thomas wrote that “the people lose when the government is the one deciding which ideas should prevail…. This Court’s precedents are deeply skeptical of laws that ‘distinguis[h] among different speakers, allowing speech by some but not others.’”
In October, a district court declared the law unconstitutional, granting a permanent injunction against it.
Drawing the case to a close last week, U.S. District Court Judge Terry Hatter for the Central District of California said the state would have to pay $399,000 in legal fees and other costs to the Pregnancy and Family Resource Center of San Bernardino, His Nesting Place of Long Beach, Birth Choice of the Desert in La Quinta, and the Liberty Counsel.
The decision by the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California not only affirms the First Amendment rights of pro life pregnancy centers but also sends a strong message that this type of state-sanctioned bullying is not acceptable and has repercussions.