9th Circuit affirms CA forced abortion promotion law

 

So, you want to help pregnant women and girls with the information and resources they need to bring a healthy baby into the world? Well, in California, you can do that, but only if you tell these women and girls about free or discount-rate abortions they can get through the state. And only if the pro-life pregnancy care centers also provide the name, address, and phone number to the nearest abortionist.

The most reversed federal appeals circuit Friday upheld AB 775 – a speech coercion law that has less to do with women’s health than with political cronyism – in National Institute of Family and Life Advocates v. Harris

Alliance Defending Freedom attorney Matt Bowman said:

“It’s bad enough if the government tells you what you can’t say, but a law that tells you what you must say—under threat of severe punishment—is even more unjust and dangerous. In this case, political allies of abortionists are seeking to punish pro-life pregnancy centers, which offer real hope and help to women. Forcing these centers to promote abortion and recite the government’s preferred views is a clear violation of their constitutionally protected First Amendment freedoms. That’s why other courts around the country have halted these kinds of measures and why we will be discussing the possibility of appeal with our clients.”

Of course, the law doesn’t force abortion businesses to promote the services offered by pregnancy care centers. But this has never been about making sure women have access to all their options before exercising “choice,” right?

The good news, to which Bowman alludes, is that other courts (even in the deepest of deep blue states) have struck down unconscionably unconstitutional laws like California’s AB 775. The fate of this unjust law should be the same.

There are 14 comments.

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  1. Mike Rapkoch Moderator
    Mike Rapkoch
    @MikeRapkoch

    I practiced in front of the 9th many times. Not surprised. They truly are–with vanishingly few exceptions–a bunch of totalitarian overlords.

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  2. Mike H Coolidge
    Mike H
    @MikeH

    Wouldn’t “forced promotion of abortion” be a less deceiving title? The words “forced abortion” kind of jump out at ya.

    • #2
  3. Larry3435 Member
    Larry3435
    @Larry3435

    I know that this isn’t going to be a popular viewpoint around here, but I would have no problem with a law that required abortion clinics to post information about the availability of adoption agencies as an alternative to abortion.  Since I like to think of myself as being fair-minded and consistent, I must also conclude that a law that requires a pregnancy clinic to post information about all available resources, including abortion, is okay.  I want to mention that compliance with this law can be achieved by putting up a poster in the clinic’s waiting room.  It doesn’t require anyone to say they favor abortion or encourage abortion.  It simply requires the posting of accurate, factual information that could reasonably be assumed to be of interest to some patients.

    Frankly, I have no problem with any law that requires medical professionals to truthfully inform their patients of all available options for dealing with their condition, whether the medical professional likes or agrees with those options or not.  I think that is central to the whole notion of informed consent.  I would respectfully suggest that there are better ways to prevent abortions than deceiving pregnant women who are seeking care about the options available to them.

    • #3
  4. Kwhopper Inactive
    Kwhopper
    @Kwhopper

    Larry3435: Frankly, I have no problem with any law that requires medical professionals to truthfully inform their patients of all available options for dealing with their condition

    Euthanasia too?

    • #4
  5. Larry3435 Member
    Larry3435
    @Larry3435

    Kwhopper:

    Larry3435: Frankly, I have no problem with any law that requires medical professionals to truthfully inform their patients of all available options for dealing with their condition

    Euthanasia too?

    You know, when I wrote my comment I actually thought about saying “all available legal options,” but then I decided that anyone reading these comments wouldn’t need me to spell that out for them.  I guess I was wrong?

    • #5
  6. MJBubba Inactive
    MJBubba
    @MJBubba

    Larry3435:

    Kwhopper:

    Larry3435: Frankly, I have no problem with any law that requires medical professionals to truthfully inform their patients of all available options for dealing with their condition

    Euthanasia too?

    You know, when I wrote my comment I actually thought about saying “all available legal options,” but then I decided that anyone reading these comments wouldn’t need me to spell that out for them. I guess I was wrong?

    This is a free exercise issue.  Information about some legal options is information about options that the agency considers sinful.  This amounts to the State determining that some religions are not allowed to control the information that is provided in their facilities.   This is of a piece with the trend in the blue states, which are openly hostile to some religions while openly supportive of others.

    • #6
  7. Kwhopper Inactive
    Kwhopper
    @Kwhopper

    Larry3435:

    Kwhopper:

    Larry3435: Frankly, I have no problem with any law that requires medical professionals to truthfully inform their patients of all available options for dealing with their condition

    Euthanasia too?

    You know, when I wrote my comment I actually thought about saying “all available legal options,” but then I decided that anyone reading these comments wouldn’t need me to spell that out for them. I guess I was wrong?

    There are only semantic differences with physician assisted suicide, which is legal in some states:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Euthanasia_in_the_United_States

    In short,

    MJBubba: This amounts to the State determining that some religions are not allowed to control the information that is provided in their facilities.

    • #7
  8. Larry3435 Member
    Larry3435
    @Larry3435

    If physician-assisted suicide is legal in a particular state (that would be only Oregon, so far as I know) then I think the patient has the right to know that.  Not the right to compel any physician to participate in the process over their moral objection (whether religious or not).  But the right to know what the law is.  Deceit is not a legitimate medical procedure.

    • #8
  9. Kwhopper Inactive
    Kwhopper
    @Kwhopper

    Larry3435: If physician-assisted suicide is legal in a particular state (that would be only Oregon, so far as I know) then I think the patient has the right to know that.

    The patient can find that out for themselves. There is no compelling reason in “good” law that a physician or clinic should be forced by the state to speak. If the physician or clinic chooses to do so, that is their prerogative.

    Larry3435: But the right to know what the law is. Deceit is not a legitimate medical procedure.

    That right does not flow from a clinic. It is not deceitful for a clinic that proclaims itself as pro-life to only mention pro-life solutions. California can let these women know about alternative services directly – unless you’re saying California owns these physicians and clinics in some way where they can compel speech.

    • #9
  10. Larry3435 Member
    Larry3435
    @Larry3435

    Kwhopper: The patient can find that out for themselves. There is no compelling reason in “good” law that a physician or clinic should be forced by the state to speak. If the physician or clinic chooses to do so, that is their prerogative.

    No, it’s not their “prerogative.”  If you decide to practice medicine, then you have a legal and moral obligation to put your patient’s interests ahead of your own.  If you happen to be a doctor who is a Jehovah’s witness, then you still have to tell your patients if a blood transfusion will save their life.

    What makes it a “good” law?  I don’t claim that it is necessarily “good.”  But it was established by the people’s elected representatives, and I respect the democratic process.  It is not, and has never been, the case that you can ignore any duly enacted law just because you disagree with it for religious reasons.

    • #10
  11. Kwhopper Inactive
    Kwhopper
    @Kwhopper

    Larry3435: No, it’s not their “prerogative.”

    Of course it is. Physicians aren’t forced to suggest all alternative forms of treatment for all conditions. Otherwise, your headache diagnosis would come with information not only for aspirin, naproxin, and tylenol but also chiropractic, yoga, and (possibly) cannabis. Physicians are allowed quite a bit of latitude on what they must say and it’s usually defined by a consensus in the field. In most cases, they’re more prohibited on what they’re allowed to say when it comes to efficacy, etc.

    Larry3435: What makes it a “good” law? I don’t claim that it is necessarily “good.” But it was established by the people’s elected representatives, and I respect the democratic process. It is not, and has never been, the case that you can ignore any duly enacted law just because you disagree with it for religious reasons.

    “Religious” isn’t the issue. These clinics have certain interests and they’re plainly known by the public. It is interesting that the law doesn’t reciprocate and force abortion providers to promote certain speech. A “good” law would at least be fair, but in this case respecting Constitutionally protected speech (or non-speech) seems better.

    Why wouldn’t it be good enough for the clinic or physician to honor whatever duty is required by their field to answer that abortion is one possibility IF the patient asks about it? Why must that option be forced to always appear in these facilities, and why only for abortion?

    • #11
  12. Larry3435 Member
    Larry3435
    @Larry3435

    Kwhopper:

    Larry3435: No, it’s not their “prerogative.”

    Of course it is. Physicians aren’t forced to suggest all alternative forms of treatment for all conditions. Otherwise, your headache diagnosis would come with information not only for aspirin, naproxin, and tylenol but also chiropractic, yoga, and (possibly) cannabis.

    Yoga is not a medical procedure, and physicians lack the expertise to explain its benefits (if it has any benefits).  But if the state determines that yoga is potentially beneficial for certain conditions, and requires medical clinics to post a notice about it, that’s fine with me.  No different than the skull and crossbones you’ll find on a pack of cigarettes.  Personally, I don’t have much faith in health advice from the state.  After all, these are the same people who told me to eat margarine rather than butter for 40 years, before deciding that margarine (aka transfats) was the worst thing I could possibly eat.  And I think that in most cases, “medical marijuana” is a lot of hooey.

    But it’s not for me to make that decision for other people.  People are entitled to make their own decisions about their lawful medical options, whether I like them or not.  And whether you like them or not.

    • #12
  13. Kwhopper Inactive
    Kwhopper
    @Kwhopper

    Larry3435: Personally, I don’t have much faith in health advice from the state. After all, these are the same people who told me to eat margarine rather than butter for 40 years, before deciding that margarine (aka transfats) was the worst thing I could possibly eat. And I think that in most cases, “medical marijuana” is a lot of hooey.

    No argument from me.

    Larry3435: But it’s not for me to make that decision for other people. People are entitled to make their own decisions about their lawful medical options, whether I like them or not. And whether you like them or not.

    We’ll just have to differ here because the litigation isn’t focused on something general in nature. In this case, California is running state-sponsored healthcare programs and wants to force clinics to advertise the existence of those specific public programs. Perhaps if they were trying to make sure all options were known by patients with no preference for source – but this sounds far from that. Plus, again, it doesn’t reciprocate and force publicly funded services to “advertise” their private counterparts.

    • #13
  14. Larry3435 Member
    Larry3435
    @Larry3435

    Kwhopper: We’ll just have to differ here because the litigation isn’t focused on something general in nature. In this case, California is running state-sponsored healthcare programs and wants to force clinics to advertise the existence of those specific public programs. Perhaps if they were trying to make sure all options were known by patients with no preference for source – but this sounds far from that. Plus, again, it doesn’t reciprocate and force publicly funded services to “advertise” their private counterparts.

    Now that’s a fair criticism of this law.  But it’s not the criticism made by the OP, and it’s not the basis for a Constitutional challenge.  I would support a law that required all clinics (including abortion clinics) to provide their patients with information about all options (including adoption).

    • #14

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