Abortion

California Christians Should Go to Jail Rather Than Post State-Mandated Abortion Signs, Says Focus on the Family Founder James Dobson

"If California attempts to enforce this law, then do not comply."

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ALEX HOFFORD/EPA/Newscom

Christian leader James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family, is urging the owners of pro-life pregnancy centers in California to practice civil disobedience in the face of a new rule dubbed "The Reproductive FACT Act" by state legislators. "If California attempts to enforce this law," Dobson said in a Tuesday statement, "then do not comply. Make them put you in jail."

The measure requires all licensed pregnancy clinics to post and distribute the following notice: "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 [phone number]."

Pregnancy centers that do not offer medical services and are not licenced by the state must post signs announcing that the 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."

A lawsuit challenging the measure on First Amendment grounds was rebuffed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit last week, upholding a lower court decision not to halt enforcement of the law.

"Christians across America must express their outrage at the Ninth Circuit Court's ruling to uphold California's so called 'Reproductive FACT Act,'" said Dobson. "Since Roe. V. Wade, privately funded crisis pregnancy centers across America have provided a refuge and an alternative to women who might have otherwise chosen abortion. … This ruling now forces these clinics to violate their sincerely held religious beliefs, and it is an affront to our constitutionally mandated rights to life and to religious freedom."

"This decision is further affirmation of the importance of this presidential election," said Dobson. "Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump will be responsible for appointing the replacement of Antonin Scalia, and–in all likelihood–two to three other Supreme Court Justices. That court will eventually decide whether or not this remains the law in California and becomes law across America."

Lawyer Ken White, of Popehat, has more about the California law and the court's decision, which is worth reading if you care about why the 9th Circuit decided how it did. A lot of it turned on the level of scrutiny being applied.

When a court applies scrutiny, it's holding the government's justification for a challenged law to a standard. How tough the standard is depends on the nature of the law and how the plaintiff says it's defective. In some situations, courts apply strict scrutiny — for instance, laws that punish speech based on its content generally trigger strict scrutiny. If a court applies strict scrutiny, the government must show that the law in question serves a compelling government interest and is narrowly tailored to achieve that interest. Practically speaking, applying strict scrutiny almost always means that the court will strike down the law.

In the middle you've got intermediate scrutiny, which requires the government to show that the law promotes an important government interest and is substantially related to that interest. At the low end you've got the "rational basis" test, which almost any law can pass.

In this case, the Ninth Circuit decided the compelled speech in question was "professional speech," which triggers intermediate scrutiny. White notes that "content-based speech regulation often—usually—triggers strict scrutiny." But in this case, "the court said that while the law is content-based, it's viewpoint-neutral—that is, it does not discriminate based on one particular opinion or view, and applies to all clinics regardless of how they feel about abortion."

"The 'viewpoint neutral' argument seems odd here," he adds. "Under the Ninth Circuit's logic you could compel any statement so long as you compelled it for everyone equally—both people who agreed with it and people who disagreed. I'm not sure that's right. … I think the better argument is that the compelled speech here is informational and about an area—medical services—generally regulated by the government."

In any event, the appeals court concluded that the California government had a legitimate interest in women getting information about reproductive services and had tailored the requirements of this law to that purpose. The court wrote that state-licensed medical clinics are not a "soapbox" and pointed out that unlicensed pregnancy clinics aren't compelled to post any information about contraception or abortion.

"If [California] tried to regulate unlicensed organizations that offered counseling, that would be outrageous and obviously unconstitutional," White concluded his analysis of the decision. "I would say, instead, that the law illustrates the inherent tension between free speech and government regulation of professions."

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  1. “If [California] tried to regulate unlicensed organizations that offered counseling, that would be outrageous and obviously unconstitutional,”

    Compelling the posting and content of signs sure sounds like regulation

    Pregnancy centers that do not offer medical services and are not licenced by the state must post signs

    1. Because women are idiots who couldn’t figure it out in the first place.

      1. ‘But there’s a narrow window of opportunity and a lot of these places give you the runaround to run out the clock . . . ‘

        Its literally their actual justification.

    2. Pregnancy centers that do not offer medical services and are not licenced by the state must post signs

      “A morally wicked state law forces us to post the following sign:”

      Watch the state regulators go nuts.

      1. Jerry Brown wants you to kill your baby because he thinks you are a bad person.

        Local 6 year old told me that Hillary is like Pharoah. She wants to kill all the babies.

      2. Oh, I like it.

        Burn in Hell, Jerry!

  2. “I would say, instead, that the law illustrates the inherent tension between free speech and government regulation of professions.”

    Or rather the inherent tension in the government regulation of professions.

  3. The solution to the abortion problem is glaringly obvious: Admit two new states to the union–North and South Abortionlina, move all of the pro-abortion people to one and all the anti-abortion people to the other, then put walls around them. The people of those states can then devote the remainder of their lives to carefully crafting legislation that makes abortions either mandatory or impossible without actually saying so outright.

    The rest of the country can live in peace without ever hearing about this issue again, and get abortions if and when they want them.

    1. I have an even better idea – let us create a constitutional republic – call it the United States, in which the fundamental provides that no person may be deprived of life without due process of law. That way, arbitrary outlawry – the process by which the government declares certain people outside of legal protection without charge or trial – will not be allowed, and living human beings at all stages of development, from conception to natural death, will be protected.

      1. in which the fundamental *law*

      2. Then we could create another country, called Godwiniana, where the government can declare any living being an unperson who can legitimately be killed.

        1. Any living *human* being.

      3. Technically, the provision that no person may be deprived of life without due process of law was not foundational but rather established by the 14th Amendment about 80 years after the country was founded.

        1. It was not established by the 14th Amendment, it goes back to Magna Carta. The Fifth Amendment, adopted in 1791, applies it to the federal government. The 14th Amendment, adopted 1868, applies it to the states.

          The history of due process shows that arbitrary outlawry was one of the evils against which due process protections were aimed.

          1. Fair enough about the 5th Amendment.

            Although it didn’t do much good for Dred Scott…

            1. Doesn’t do much good for Planned Parenthood’s victims, either.

              1. Thus, it took more than just a declaration of the right to make it happen. Specifically, the 13th Amendment and citizenship clause of the 14th Amendment were necessary to give the 5th Amendment and due process clause of the 14th Amendment teeth where (former) slaves were concerned. So an Amendment would be needed to ensure the right to life of the unborn is recognized and upheld everywhere in the U.S.

                1. You mean an amendment saying “and this time we mean it?”

                  1. You mean an amendment saying “and this time we mean it?”

                    … yes, just like they had to do in the past.

                2. You would have to overturn the 13th to have an amendment banning abortion.

                  1. You would have to overturn the 13th to have an amendment banning abortion.

                    Funny, but no. If the 13th Amendment (and the lack of any explicit authority!) didn’t stop the draft, it’s not going to stop a later Amendment banning abortion (whether in language or effect).

                    1. Or the draft wouldn’t pass Constitutional muster at this point.

                      And the abortion ban would have a metric shitload of disparate impact. The draft, if reinstated, could be opened to both genders.

              2. The Fusionist|10.19.16 @ 3:35PM|#
                “Doesn’t do much good for Planned Parenthood’s victims, either.”

                Nor your poor, dead sperm lying on the bathroom tiles.

                1. Your poor, dying sperm were never an autonomous human being.

                  Did you never take a biology class?

    2. The solution is glaringly obvious, the state shouldn’t be using public funds for a practice that a non-insignificant number of citizens find morally repugnant. That was the gentlemans agreement before the left decided that abortion is somehow a civil right that should be free to anyone who wants it.

      I can agree that in a free market, there will be a market for this and in area’s where natural rights are in conflict decisions must be made in the interests of both rights. Therefore abortion will exist separate from any should you care to add onto it. That’s been a fact forever, it’s not going to change. Women who don’t want their babies will find a way, and always have.

      What is dastardly is making your pastor neighbor pay for it, and doing it within a certain legally determined period of time before the birth. Those are my two big-tent caveats to the entire thing. My morals shouldn’t necessarily decide what you do with things that require your body to survive that you may, or may not, be prepared to deal with. The second you ask for my dollars to do it though, you are inviting my opinion on the subject and you are probably not going to be happy with it since my answer will be ‘no’.

  4. Good for them. If I weren’t so cynical, I might think throwing a few of them in jail would make people reconsider this BS, and that they should be able to practice whatever form of service they want, without government interference. Naturally, “liberals” will only delight that their enemies are being jailed, principles be damned.

    1. Well they are only stupid christfags after all. Who cares what happens to those nutters.

    2. I don’t fully understand the situation, but I admire their courage to get arrested for their beliefs.

      1. Well, right now it’s a guy telling others to get arrested for their beliefs. We’ll see what happens.

    3. I suspect that if they do get arrested for this, they won’t be convicted. The court declined to halt enforcement of the law. That doesn’t mean they would necessarily consider it constitutional if it were challenged in a criminal trial. And this seems like a pretty blatant violation.

    4. Look at Cliven Bundy, or whatever his name was out in the Oregon woods.

    5. Free Amy Goodman!

  5. The measure requires all licensed pregnancy clinics to post and distribute the following notice

    Wait! I thought the whole moral panic that led to this legislation was over unlicensed clinics*. Are you telling me health care licensing doesn’t magically impart a certain ideology upon the mind of a health care provider?

    *Particularly galling is the title of page 16 of that report. You know who else “targeted low-income women and women of color?

    1. Jack the Ripper?

      1. The providers of Soylent Green?

    2. Gotta be Marge Sanger – is that the pic?

    3. I didn’t think that most of these places were clinics or health care providers.

      1. They’re usually pregnancy crisis centers – aren’t they?

    4. The Patriarchy.

      1. And rape culture

  6. How is this any different from laws that require doctors to provide ultrasounds for patients beyond 12 weeks before performing an abortion, which Reason classified as ‘forced speech’?

    Is it time to admit that Reason supports liberty for some, but not for all?

      1. I know logic is offense. Retreat back to your safe space

        1. I’m not seeing the logic. Nor do I see where Reason approves of this law.

        2. Those abortion-seeking “sluts” who object to the mandated use of (being raped by) the sonar-like “shaming wand” (ultrasound), before getting an abortion, should apply for a religious-freedom exemption! Even abortion-seeking “sluts” deserve religious freedoms! To see how this can be done, please see http://www.churchofsqrls.com/sonograms/ ? And, you’re welcome!

    1. There is no editorial position advanced by this article.

      1. He reads minds, just like all the other whiners.

    2. How is this any different from laws that require doctors to provide ultrasounds for patients beyond 12 weeks before performing an abortion, which Reason classified as ‘forced speech’?

      I don’t see anyone here, including the author of the article, supporting this law. Do you?

      1. Agreed. Although ENB is Reason’s own “Abortion Barbie” (just KIDDING, Liz).

        Actually, ENB has written excellent articles on OTC birth control, which I send to my misguided, progressive friends.

  7. Wouldn’t the penalty for a licensed facility not complying with the law just be losing their license? Unless there’s some sort of state funding associated with that license (which maybe there is), it doesn’t seem like that would be a big deal. And the “we are not licensed” signs can’t really be construed as a religious liberty issue. It is interesting that the defendants didn’t argue on free speech grounds, which I think would have been a stronger case.

  8. “If California attempts to enforce this law,” Dobson said in a Tuesday statement, “then do not comply. Make them put you in jail.”

    It’s been my experience that the state will be all too happy to do exactly that.

    1. Make sure you book lots of overtime for the cops.

  9. that is, it does not discriminate based on one particular opinion or view, and applies to all clinics regardless of how they feel about abortion.”

    Uhm, ok, sort of like a ban on Gay Marriage didn’t discriminate against gays because straight people weren’t allowed to get gay married either?

    1. This is about speech. Please pay attention.

      1. Why does it matter? The underlying illogic of the claim is essentially the same.

      2. yeah. speech is expressly protected in the constitution so we can ignore that. gay marriage isn’t even mentioned so it is compelled by the constitution.

      3. You’ve missed the point. The point the court made is that a “thing” applied to everyone, so it doesn’t matter whether someone disagrees with the “thing”.

        Let me try a different analogy:

        How would the courts look upon a law, likely crafted by second amendment activists, that forced Gun Control Advocates to instruct people on how to get a conceal carry permit?

        It’s an alternative, it’s legal, and the public has a right to be informed, no?

        1. Or a ban on timberlands at a night club?

  10. The court wrote that state-licensed medical clinics are not a “soapbox”

    1. That argument cuts both ways.
    2. Why the fuck not? Who owns the clinic, the doctor(s) or the state?

    1. The doctors own the clinic, but the state owns the doctors.

      1. Well they own the Dr’s license anyways.

        1. And we all know that licensing is the best way to protect consumers…and only the state can control it, because reasons.

          1. All state licenses should disappear and be replaced with private certification. You can get a breast aug in the back of a van or go to a privately certified surgeon, your choice.

          2. But the State ain’t in the business of protecting consumers in the pupa stage?

  11. Suddenly pro-lifers find regulations on businesses objectionable.

    1. Were most pro-lifers supposed to be thought of as anti-regulation in the first place?

      1. Pst. It’s sarc based on pro-abortion (progs) were for regulation of everything except abortion meme.

      2. No, they tend to selectively favor regulations that make abortion more difficult, uncomfortable or expensive.

        1. “Uncomfortable” – for whom, exactly?

          Does the anti-abortion speech trigger you, Cupcake?

          1. I haven’t had one myself, but my wife certainly looked uncomfortable when receiving transvaginal ultrasounds during her pregnancies.

            1. Your wife had multiple abortions?

              Or are you just saying the ultrasounds are routine?

        2. But a “pro-lifer” strictly speaking takes no position on regulation as an issue. Their issue is abortion, not regulation.

      3. The GOP, the political doulas of anti-abortion regulations, profess to being opposed to regulations on business.

        1. Oh, I see – it’s the GOP’s fault you can’t get your free and hasty abortion.

          1. So the GOP isn’t the party passing those bills regulating abortion providers that keep getting struck down? Someone better tell Texas that some fake Republicans are going around making them look like hypocritical idiots.

            1. You really like abortion, don’t you? As long as it’s not “uncomfortable” or “expensive”. And you don’t have to think about it too hard.

              1. I would have been fine with your mother choosing to have one.

                1. And yet, she didn’t. Nor did yours. Our mothers are moral women.

              2. So regulation is OK if it makes something… expensive?

        2. Ok, but a single-issue pro-life voter is not likely to care.

          1. Hypocrisy is hypocrisy.

            1. Hypocrisy requires you to stake out a position and then do something contrary to it. Not somebody else to stake out your positions for you then accuse you of violating them.

              There is likely a lot of overlap between anti-abortion/pro-life and anti-regulation/pro-business. But if your hobby horse is abortion above all else, it’s not hypocritical to say abortion providers should be regulated and anti-abortion pregnancy counselors shouldn’t be.

              1. …if your hobby horse is opposing abortion above all else, …

              2. There is likely a lot of overlap between anti-abortion/pro-life and anti-regulation/pro-business.

                I’m talking about the GOP.

                Anti-abortion people tie themselves into all sort of stupid knots in their monomania. That’s on them.

                1. I’m talking about the GOP.

                  Yeah, I see that. Now.

                  1. I worded the initial post poorly.

            2. Except this is life we’re talking about here.

    2. “Regulations for thee, but not for me.”

      That’s generally the operating principle of most people, unfortunately.

  12. So, Ken – what’s the compelling state’s interest?

    1. MOAR ABORTIONS! C’mon man, palms have been greased…

    2. Killing poor people’s fetuses…feti, reduces crime. Your welcome.

    3. As Ken said, the Court didn’t apply strict scrutiny and therefore didn’t need to show a compelling state interest.

      1. So the State is just “making a suggestion”? Because California women are idiots and can’t tell the different between a Planned Parenthood Clinic and a pro-life abortion alternative pregnancy crisis center?

        1. The fuck are you on about, go read the Popehat article (which is what I assume you were referring to by saying Ken) if you don’t understand scrutiny jurisprudence.

        2. How exactly do you think the crisis pregnancy centers get people in the door?

          1. God.

          2. God.

  13. Unfortunately commercial speech, including the subset of professional speech, has long been a hole in 1st amendment protection from the courts. I’m betting it will stand, this isn’t really any different than the bans on tobacco advertising or the compelled warning labels on cigarette packs for example.

    1. But to compel a pro-life organization to point them in the direction of the abortionist?

      1. What’s the point? Are many people going to a prolife clinic and asking “where da abortions at?”. If you want an abortion use your Obama phone to call information.

        1. Well, they do advertise Crisis Pregnancy Centers on the sides of public buses. In Spanish.

          Yo quiero Taco Bell, Chica?

        2. The point is to punish their enemies. They get great joy out of seeing people who find abortion immoral have to sell it. Whether there are buyers is irrelevant, they masturbate to the power to humiliate them.

          1. Yeah, that’s how I see it too. California has made abortion and material services equal – if an insurance company offers maternity services, it MUST also offer elective abortion. And ObamaCare made all insurance cover maternity.

            So, yes, it’s no longer about expense or access – because even MediCal covers elective abortion. It’s about stifling pro-lifers

      2. I’m not saying people in general find them of equal importance (obviously not because there are few of us complaining about the unconstitutional compelled tobacco speech) just that the legal principles are the same and the ignoring of the constitution by SCOTUS is the same.

        1. Well, you know what Shakespeare said about lawyers

          1. Presumably pro-life people had lawyers defending them.

            1. Yet, in California, abortion and maternity services are ” neutral”. So much for lawyers. And think about that for awhile.

              Yes, you are paying for California womens’ abortions. Thank you, American taxpayers. Thank you, Obama, Thank you, Jerry Brown.

        2. Well, you know what Shakespeare said about lawyers

  14. As an entrepreneur, and a person who considers himself anti-anti-abortion (not nuts about abortion, but it’s the woman’s choice, yet ain’t going to fund it nor all the rest of the detritus that goes with being “pro-choice”) how does this business model strike the average pro-choicer? Open up an abortion clinic, divert the stem cells etc to their good uses, and next door open up a Kentucky Fried Fetus restaurant with the parts left over? There’s bound to be some decent protein involved – and with a spicy coating? What’s not to like? Win-win-win!

    1. I think it’s a splendid model. After all, it’s a woman’s body. Why shouldn’t she sell the fetal scraps? And if StemExpress can use the tissue to cure Parkinson’s or Multiple Sclerosis, it would be immoral to throw those scraps down the toilet.

      You could open Margaret Sanger’s Fetal Parts Chop-Shop, where pregnant women could stay and let those parts get nice and formed and developed. Then, you could harvest those parts. And make a boatload of money – for the women and for yourself.

      And cure hundreds of diseases in the process! You’d SAVE HUMAN LIVES!!!

      Think about it.

      Win-win-win – all the way around!

    2. Can’t use meat harvested during anesthesia.

      1. Valium & a vacuum. Duh.

  15. It’s a dumb regulation passed to solve a largely non-existent problem. California at its best.

    Is there also a placard the says California has determined that receiving religious counseling may cause cancer?

    1. Everything causes cancer. California causes cancer, specifically brain cancer.

  16. Progs acting in such a way as to make James fucking Dobson the good guy. Amazing. Only a prog could pull that off.

    1. This is the state that bans plastic bags.

  17. ::Looks around at comments::

    Oh, hell no….

  18. On what ground can a government agent enter an unlicensed establishment to enforce this law?

    1. They could require it in advertising?

  19. YOU WILL SAY WHAT WE TELL YOU TO SAY.

    WELCOME TO COMMIEFORNIA. ENJOY YOUR STAY BEFORE YOU FLEE TO TEXAS OR MONTANA.

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