A federal court has blocked a California law that would have required Christians at crisis pregnancy centers to promote abortion.
The state’s FACT Act, requiring pro-life centers to provide women with information about nearby abortionists, was struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court in June as a violation of the First Amendment.
The case then was returned to the local court where it began.
Now a federal district court has issued an order permanently banning enforcement of California’s AB 775, which was rejected by the justices in the case National Institute of Family and Life Advocates v. Becerra.
“The government has no business forcing anyone to express a message that violates their convictions, especially on deeply divisive subjects such as abortion,” said Michael Farris, general counsel for the Alliance Defending Freedom.
“California disregarded that truth when it passed its law forcing pro-life centers to advertise for the abortion industry.”
He argued at the Supreme Court against the law.
Farris said the U.S. Supreme Court rightly found that “the people lose when the government is the one deciding which ideas should prevail.”
“The outcome of this case affirms the freedom that all Americans have to speak – or not to speak – in accordance with their conscience,” he said.
California has an estimated 200 pro-life pregnancy centers, and many have a religious orientation.
The state demanded that they post information “a conspicuous” place and in a particular font size regarding where a woman can obtain an abortion. The message also was required to be in up to 13 languages.
The National Institute of Family and Life Advocates challenged the law on constitutional grounds. It argued the First Amendment doesn’t allow the government to order people to carry a certain message.
A majority of the Supreme Court, led by Justice Clarence Thomas, said the law likely violated the First Amendment.
It was Judge John Houston who signed an order permanently banning the enforcement of the law.
“This is a huge win for babies and for the life-affirming pregnancy care centers that love and serve women and children,” said Dean Broyles of the National Center for Law & Policy, which also worked on the case.
“The First Amendment was designed precisely for this situation – where authoritarian governments coercively attempt to censor and silence the opposition or otherwise stifle free expression.”
WND reported earlier this month on a similar case that was decided in favor of pregnancy centers based on the NIFLA precedent.
In that case, a federal judge in California ordered the state to pay the attorney’s fees and costs to Liberty Counsel for its lawsuit.
Liberty Counsel represented Mountain Right to Life, Birth Choice of the Desert and His Nesting Place, which faced massive fines and penalties for refusing to promote abortion to women who came to their offices for help.
In recent years, similar laws were totally or mostly overturned in cases in Austin, Texas; Montgomery County, Maryland; Baltimore; and New York City.