Gov. Jerry Brown has signed a bill, called the Reproductive Fact Act, that requires anti-abortion pregnancy centers to post information about where patients can avail of free or low-cost abortion services. This new bill that took effect January this year has been faced with both criticisms and support.
Pro-life clinics are calling this bill “unconstitutional,” saying that it violates their rights of free speech. Why would an anti-abortion clinic promote abortion services? And as reported by The New York Times, a number of pregnancy centers in California have yet to comply with this new law. Setting fines of $500 and $1,000 per offense, the law also mandates pro-life centers (some of which do not need a medical license) to post the following notice: “This facility is not licensed as a medical facility by the State of California and has no licensed medical provider who provides or directly supervises the provision of services.” This, according to some pro-life groups, casts doubts on the credibility of these centers.
The supporter of this law, however, say that giving patients information about government-supported abortion services may be essential to “an informed decision.” After all, abortion is indeed one option pregnant women may consider. There are also claims that several pro-life centers actually give misleading information regarding abortion. Some are saying these centers incorrectly link abortion to breast cancer and increased risk of premature births. So for others, this law in a way helps in bringing awareness as regards the true pros and cons of abortion.
The legal battle between pro-life advocates and the law still continues. So far, three federal and one state courts have deemed the law constitutional. But representatives of the pro-life centers vow to bring this issue to the Supreme Court.
In the meantime, NARAL Pro-Choice says that it plans to monitor compliance with this new law and encourage action from city and county lawyers.
This issue seems to bring to light how differing views create divide and problems to causes that at the end of the day similarly seek to protect the welfare of those who may benefit them. Can one really not enjoy all his rights without stepping on someone else’s? Is a compromise possible for both sides? Think about it.