Assembly Bill 775 would require all pregnancy resource centers (PRCs) in California to refer clients to the very abortionists that they exist to oppose.
It forces PRCs to conspicuously post notifications that “California has public programs that provide immediate free or low-cost access to comprehensive family planning services (including all FDA-approved methods of contraception), prenatal care, and abortion for eligible women. To determine whether you qualify, contact the county social services office at [insert the telephone number].” PRCs would have to tell their clients that free or low-cost abortions are immediately available to them, have the blessing of the state, and then hand out a county phone number where their client will be referred for an abortion.
The only way to make sense of this legislation is by comparing it to the Fugitive Slave Acts of 1793 and 1850.
The philosophy underpinning these acts was that black slaves were the property of their owners. If a slave managed to get away from the brutality of the plantation and flee to a free state, the Fugitive Slave Acts mandated that the slave be returned — to face punishment or death. Anyone found to obstruct or hinder the faithful execution of the Fugitive Slave Act was fined $500.
Under AB775, the state of California stacks the deck in much the same way. The unborn child is like the slave — the abortion industry thinks of them as their property, to do with as they will. If the unborn baby escapes the plantation propaganda of the abortion industry, and her mother finds herself at a pro-life PRC free state, the government wants to force the PRC to include advocacy that would redirect her to an abortion clinic. It’s interesting that the penalty for the first act of non-compliance to AB775 is the same as the penalty for non-compliance with the Fugitive Slave Act: $500.
Some might argue, “It’s not the same thing. Slaves were human beings.” So are the unborn. It’s easy to prove, and I’d happily debate it with any who disagree.
Planned Parenthood, awash in state and federal money, still wants the volunteer and donation-only PRCs to market for them. AB775 would be like requiring anti-slavery abolitionists, at every speaking engagement, to hand a slaveholder’s pamphlet to their listeners explaining that, nevertheless, in the South, slavery is a safe, legal way to get your crops picked and will improve the slaveholders’ lives in tangible ways. Of course, the end for the true object of both laws is neither safety nor legal protection; it is death.
AB775 is an assault on the nature of advocacy and the right of free expression. The intent of AB775 — to make sure all women have comprehensive information in order to make in “informed” choice — is not applicable to abortion clinics. The law requires one-way advocacy — toward the abortion clinic. Some might argue it won’t much matter. If PRCs make a good case for life, they can overcome the law’s provisions. But pro-life advocacy is already difficult. There is often a boyfriend, parent, or a spouse pressuring the woman to abort. The government, education, and secular entertainment culture make abortion appear simple and uncomplicated. It’s not enough that PRCs are sometimes unsuccessful in changing the mind of a client; now the state wants to force PRCs to collude in sending their clients to an abortionist.
To burden the free-speech advocacy of PRCs while ignoring the distortions of the abortionists regarding the nature of abortion, fetal development, and other scientific and philosophical reasons for the intrinsic value of the unborn, is unconscionable. It should not, and will not, stand.
If AB775 clears the California State Senate and is signed into law by Governor Brown, I see litigation in its future. I imagine that Alliance Defending Freedom, the firm that successfully handled the Hobby Lobby case, is salivating to take this on. (ADF already sent a letter to Illinois legislators, who are considering a similar measure, warning them of the consequences of passing a law requiring pro-life doctors to refer for abortion in violation of their conscience.) California will lose, but the cost of the court battle will be high.
In the meantime, PRCs may find they will have to warn their clients more explicitly about the consequences of calling that posted number. It’s time to take the gloves off. Show clients precisely what that “safe,” “legal” abortion will do to their unborn baby.
The rest of the pro-life movement had better gear up, and press for public debate. We’ve been treating abortionists like our competition, both vying for “market share.” Abortionists are the enemy that uses euphemism and medical buildings to conduct the most despicable slaughter of the innocents the world has ever known. It’s time to push back.
Dr. Marc Newman is president of Speaker for Life (www.speakerforlife.com), and equips pro-life advocates with communication skills. A professor for 30 years, he currently teaches in the Applied Bioethics program at Oklahoma Wesleyan University.