San Diego supervisor’s plan to shut down 16 pregnancy care centers temporarily stalls

San Diego supervisor’s plan to shut down 16 pregnancy care centers temporarily stalls (KPBS via California Family Council)

(California Family Council) Pro-lifers came out in force yesterday (Nov. 7, 2023) to oppose a San Diego Supervisor’s proposal to pursue litigation to shut down the county’s 16 pregnancy care centers she considered “fake and fraudulent.” The opponents overwhelmed the supporters with over 60 people speaking in opposition and 975 sending in written comments. In contrast, no one spoke in support at the hearing, and only 60 people sent in supportive comments. In the end, the four-member board split the vote, stalling the recommendation, but only temporarily. The proposal will be voted on again on December 5, after a new supervisor fills a vacant spot on the board. 

Earlier in the week, San Diego County District 3 Supervisor Terra Lawson-Remer, held a press conference with a Planned Parenthood abortionist to promote her plan.

“They are fake centers pretending to offer reproductive health care and advice to women; luring unsuspecting women into their doors with misleading information,” Lawson-Remer said.  However, the supervisor didn’t provide any evidence for these claims. She didn’t point to any bad actors in San Diego County, nor did she have any clients of a pregnancy care center to present testimony on how they were deceived. 

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Coming to the defense of San Diego’s pregnancy care centers was Anne O’Connor, J.D., Vice President of Legal Affairs for the National Institute of Family and Life Advocates (NIFLA). She voiced her condemnation of the proposal in a letter to the board. “Supervisor Lawson-Remer’s outrageously unconstitutional proposal attacking the good work of legitimate non-profits is unwarranted,” O’Connor wrote, referencing the Supreme Court case NIFLA v. Becerra, which defended California pregnancy centers in 2018 by reversing a state law forcing pregnancy care centers to tell clients where to get a free abortion.

O’Connor’s letter further criticized the actions of the proponents as motivated by an “extreme political agenda” not based on any actual complaints, but aimed at the people these centers assist. “These people choose to continue their pregnancies and need the support and resources that pregnancy centers provide,” she wrote. “Lawson-Remer and her Planned Parenthood allies seem to want abortion as the only option in San Diego County. Of course, that lines the pockets of Planned Parenthood so we understand their motivation. But they are wrong – women deserve all the options when making reproductive choices, including carrying their baby to term and using the support of pregnancy centers to do so.”

One of the over 60 people speaking in opposition to the proposal at the hearing was California Family Council’s Outreach Director Sophia Lorey. Her testimony highlighted the professionalism exhibited by pregnancy care centers in San Diego County with 13 being licensed by the California Department of Public Health and two more being run by licensed sole practices of physicians. 

Lorey also pointed out the substantial contribution of pregnancy centers to the state, valued at over $14.2 million in free services and support in 2019 alone.

“By attacking pregnancy centers, you are only hurting the San Diego County residents in need of their services,” Lorey told the board.

Besides directing the County Counsel to bring back recommendations for initiating litigation against the pregnancy care centers in the county, Lawson-Remer’s proposal would create a public awareness campaign with billboards and social media ads to discredit pregnancy care centers and promote abortion services.

Tweet This: A recommendation to pursue litigation to shut down San Diego county’s 16 pregnancy help centers was temporarily halted, to be voted on Dec 5

Lawson-Remer's proposal and statements are similar to those of Assemblywoman Pilar Schiavo (D-Santa Clarita) who introduced a bill, AB 710, earlier this year to attack pregnancy centers. During the bill’s hearing, she made broad-brush slanderous accusations against California’s 162 pro-life pregnancy care centers, calling them “fake…not licensed” clinics that “intentionally mislead women” into thinking these clinics provide abortions when they don’t. 

Ironically, the only two pregnancy care centers in Schiavo’s legislative district both have medical clinic licenses from the State of California and state on every page of their websites that they don’t provide abortions. Her bill eventually died. 

California’s Attorney General Rob Bonta is also attacking pregnancy care centers in California. He recently filed a lawsuit against several centers for promoting the Abortion Reversal Pill as life-saving, calling that claim false and misleading. Read about how the Thomas More Society is defending these centers from this unjustified attack.

Listen to the entire San Diego Board of Supervisors hearing below: 

Editor's note: This article was published by the California Family Council and is reprinted with permission.

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