Reproductive health clinics run by abortion opponents moved immediately to head off enforcement of a bill signed Friday by Gov. Jerry Brown that would require the clinics to inform patients that abortion services are available elsewhere.
On Saturday in Sacramento federal court, religiously affiliated clinics in Marysville and Redding that don’t offer abortions sued California Attorney General Kamala Harris, a sponsor of the new law, asking for an injunction preventing it from taking effect Jan. 1.
“At a minimum,” the lawsuit charges, AB 775 “unconstitutionally compels (the clinics) to speak messages that they have not chosen, with which they do not agree, and that distract, and detract from, the messages they have chosen to speak,” in violation of their free speech rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment.
In addition, the suit claims, “Disseminating the mandated state message, which is inconsistent with plaintiffs’ religious convictions, burdens these clinics’ free exercise of religion, secured under the First Amendment.”
The 18-page complaint, filed on behalf of the clinics by the Pacific Justice Institute, a conservative, nonprofit legal organization in Sacramento, asks the court to declare the Reproductive Fact Act unconstitutional and prohibit its enforcement.