For immediate release: March 15, 2016
Rebecca Griffin, NARAL Pro-Choice CA, 415.500.8123, firstname.lastname@example.org
Brett Abrams, UltraViolet & Courage Campaign, 516-841-1105, email@example.com
Pro-choice Californians are demanding that local officials resist anti-choice bullying and aggressively enforce the Reproductive FACT Act. More than 25,000 activists have signed petitions through NARAL Pro-Choice California, UltraViolet and Courage Campaign. Local residents are delivering petition signatures in San Diego, Monterey, Nevada and Humboldt Counties, where local authorities are reportedly considering an agreement not to enforce the law in exchange for being dropped from anti-choice lawsuits.
Passed last year, the Reproductive FACT Act protects patient health by requiring licensed pregnancy centers to notify patients about state programs for affordable reproductive health care including prenatal care, abortion care or contraception. The law requires unlicensed centers to disclose that they are not licensed medical providers. Within 24 hours of the governor’s signing the bill, anti-choice organizations began filing lawsuits to block it, and there are now five separate lawsuits pending.
In an egregious act of legal bullying, the multi-million dollar anti-choice organizations filing the challenges are offering to remove local authorities as named defendants in lawsuits if they agree not to enforce the law, a move that could have a chilling effect across the state. Officials in San Diego, Humboldt, Monterey and Nevada Counties are reportedly considering a settlement. Four different judges have denied requests for preliminary injunctions to block enforcement of the law while the litigation is in progress. There’s no reason why local authorities shouldn’t enforce our laws and hold pregnancy centers accountable for any violations.
“This law empowers women to make the best decisions for themselves and their families,” said Amy Everitt, state director of NARAL Pro-Choice California. “The reproductive health of California women shouldn’t be subject to the whims of extremist anti-choice organizations and their rabid lawyers. Their attempts to bully local authorities into caving to anti-choice values that don’t represent our state are outrageous. All city and county attorneys have a responsibility to make sure women receive this unbiased information when they are making decisions about their reproductive health.”
A poll of likely voters conducted by Tulchin Research in August of last year found that 80% of California voters support the Reproductive FACT Act’s notification requirement. Some anti-choice crisis pregnancy centers are openly defying the law, even telling the press that they don’t intend to comply.
“The Reproductive FACT Act means virtually nothing if California’s government officials do not enforce it,” said Nita Chaudhary, UltraViolet co-founder. “Now that CPCs can no longer misrepresent themselves by lying to women, anti-choice extremists are trying to ignore the law and using bullying tactics and legal challenges to flout their legal obligations. That’s why elected officials in California need to push back against the bullying tactics of anti-choice extremists and hold them accountable under the law. The people of California have spoken and we will not allow these extremists to continue forcing their antiquated, misogynistic values onto the women of California.”
“These fake abortion clinics exist for no purpose other than to prey on women, girls, and people seeking abortion care by using lies, coercion, and shame to pressure them into not exercising their constitutional right to choose,” said Laura Leavitt, Campaign Manager at Courage Campaign. “Women should be informed of all their options. They should be allowed to make their own choices, based on facts, in a supportive environment that encourages them to do what is right for them, not someone else’s extremist, anti-choice agenda. And we won’t stop fighting until they do, starting by standing up to the anti-abortion extremists behind these bogus lawsuits and demanding that local authorities enforce the Reproductive FACT Act.”
The Reproductive FACT Act was authored by Assemblymembers David Chiu (D-San Francisco) and Autumn Burke (D-Inglewood) and sponsored by NARAL Pro-Choice California, Attorney General Kamala Harris and Black Women for Wellness.