Legislation aimed at compelling pregnancy help organizations in California and Illinois to post and disseminate a government-sponsored message directing clients on where and how to obtain an abortion are delayed through the weekend, but could be addressed as soon as Tuesday.
California's Assembly Bill 775, which passed a largely party-line vote in the lower house May 26, has been referred to the State Senate's Committee on Health. With just two Republicans among nine members of the committee, the bill could move forward as early as Wednesday, when the committee is next scheduled to meet.
While forcing 270 pregnancy help locations that do not offer medical services post conspicuous signage to that effect, the legislation, nicknamed the "Bully Bill" by its pro-life opponents, would also require all of the state's 340-plus life-affirming centers to disseminate the following statement to all clients, which opponents say violates the First Amendment rights to free speech and free exercise of religion.
Tweet This: Bully Bill sent to Senate Health Committee @CA_ProLife
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].
“AB 775 is an effort to force objectionable, state-mandated speech on pro-life pregnancy care centers which have freely formed in order to compassionately present alternative views; views which are rightly protected by our Constitution – views contrary to those of the authors and supporters of this bill," Assemblyman Jim Patterson (R-Fresno) said in a statement following the bill's Assembly approval May 26.
The legislation in Illinois, SB 1564, an amendment to the existing Health Care Right of Conscience Act, originated in the state's upper house and was passed along to the General Assembly April 22. While it has gone past its deadline twice – May 22 & 30 – the bill could be heard as soon as Tuesday (June 9) when the Assembly gathers for a special session.
Similar to the proposed bill in California, the Illinois law would have a direct affect on the 46 PHOs in Illinois who offer such medical services as ultrasound, STD/STI testing, though all 170 PHOs could feel the sting of the legislation, since its broad definition has the potential to be applied to organizations offering pregnancy testing.
"In Illinois, people should be free to live in accordance with their beliefs. Government mandates that force medical personnel to promote abortion – a practice harmful to the woman they are treating and to the child within the womb – is against the principles America was founded upon. We are very encouraged by the teamwork that has been displayed by the Illinois pro-life movement to defend medical professionals.
Tweet This: "People should be free to live in accordance with their beliefs." @ILRight2Life
"The hard work by the pro-life movement has been successful in continuously delaying the vote on SB 1564 and on communicating to state lawmakers why this bill suppresses the well-informed conscience of medical professionals."
To find out more about the California bill, click here.
To find out more about the Illinois bill, click here.