The California legislature has hardly seen a free speech restriction it doesn’t like, especially when it benefits abortionists. Its latest attempt to squelch pro-life speech is Senate Bill 742 (SB742). Ostensibly aimed at prohibiting harassment of people attempting to obtain COVID-19 vaccinations, it actually works to keep pro-life sidewalk counselors from engaging with pregnant women in front of abortion clinics.
That’s because the bill makes it unlawful to approach a person or an occupied vehicle at a “vaccination site” for the purpose of harassment, intimidation or interfering with that person. And Planned Parenthood and other abortionists typically provide STD vaccines such as Gardasil, bringing them under the protection of the law.
But the law is an unconstitutional restriction on free speech, two new lawsuits allege.
The first lawsuit involves Right to Life of Central California, represented by Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) attorneys. The pro-life group, whose office is located next door to a Planned Parenthood facility, charges that the law’s restrictions prevent its representatives from peaceably offering charitable services to women in need on the public sidewalk and street outside its own building and parking lot.
“Women facing unplanned pregnancies deserve to have full support and resources available to them when they choose life for their unborn children; yet the state of California is working hard to silence the voices of those advocating on their behalf,” ADF Senior Counsel Denise Harle said in a press release.
“This new speech ban unlawfully discriminates against the peaceful advocacy of Right to Life, yet other types of speech, such as ‘lawful picketing arising out of a labor dispute,’ are permissible. We are asking the court to strike down this unconstitutional law that violates staff and volunteers’ free speech rights and allow Right to Life to continue its critical role of serving vulnerable women and children in central California.”
The second lawsuit was filed by Life Legal Defense Foundation on behalf of several individual sidewalk counselors who speak with women entering abortion facilities.
“While parts of the law restrict activity that is already illegal anywhere such as obstructing movement and threatening people,” the federal court complaint reads, “the heart of the law is a restriction on approaching within 30 feet of another person for the purpose of engaging in various forms of traditional sidewalk free speech.”
“Creating no-approach zones around every abortion facility, drug store, stand-alone health clinic, and supermarket in the state is unconstitutionally over-inclusive and overbroad,” said Life Legal Chief Officer Katie Short in a press statement. “In an age of unprecedented incursions on freedom, this law is an unheard-of restriction on core First Amendment activities, and we are confident that the federal court will strike down SB 742.”
The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled in several so-called buffer zone cases involving free speech, and in a 2000 case approved an 8-foot limit, according to Life Legal’s court filing. That’s a far cry from the 30-foot requirement of SB742.
California Family Council (CFC), an ally of Focus on the Family, has been sounding the alarm about SB742. CFC President Jonathan Keller calls it a “Trojan Horse.”
“Vaccination can be controversial, so every person should be free to make the best choice for them and their family,” Keller said in a website post. “But SB 742 is a Trojan Horse attack on the First Amendment rights of all Californians. Groups like Planned Parenthood will use this law to silence peaceful pro-life speech and assembly.”
Both lawsuits seek temporary restraining orders and injunctions blocking the law from being enforced against their clients, and ultimately a declaration that the law is unconstitutional.
The cases are Right to Life of Central California v. Bonta and Aubin v. Bonta.
HD Editor’s Note: Why Is This News Biblically Relevant?
Our culture at all costs seeks to hide the truth surrounding the evils of abortion. Those that are Pro-Life are being silenced. Movies and documentaries surrounding the true horrors of Abortion are censored.
A person should ask themselves, why? Why is the basic and scientific knowledge of the humanity of the unborn actively being kept from public view? Why are liberal legislators actively working to stop women from viewing ultrasounds prior to receiving abortions? Why are people not educated about the dark, racist history of abortion’s founding women?
Ken Ham, Founder and CEO of Answers in Genesis, recently tweeted: “The world hates God and demands the sacrifice of children to the “god of self.” Yes, like the Psalmist cried out, ‘they poured out innocent blood, the blood of their sons and daughters…and the land was polluted with blood’ (Psalm 106:38). The world hides the truth to justify their evil ways.“
Now more than ever it is vital for people to be sharing important facts about abortion with others.
Pastors have a responsibility in our “culture of death” to be speaking to their churches about the Biblical Truth surrounding this matter, whether popular or unpopular with the congregants. They must do this to equip and protect the flock Jesus has entrusted to them.
Christians are called in Scripture to stand up for Biblical Truth and be a restraining force in an ever increasingly wicked and godless world. Scripture says we are to be Salt and Light (Matthew 5:13-16). If Believers in Jesus Christ refuse to speak up on issues like abortion, there will be nothing to hold back this atrocity from becoming even more widespread.
We need to proclaim the Truth this world desperately needs: Jesus Christ did not come to tolerate our sins… He came to save us from our sin.
Pastor Hibbs explained that he shared his story “because so many women are told today that, if they are pregnant and their child is unwanted, they should just have an abortion.”
“I am living proof that this is not the answer. There are many ways to let that child live. Even if you don’t want the baby, someone else does, and God has a plan for that child,” he wrote. “Psalm 139:13-14a says, You have formed my inward parts; You have covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made, and the same is true for every child! We know from science that at the moment of conception, their DNA already contains their gender, how tall they will be, certain birthmarks, hair and eye color, etc. It’s all written down in that moment, for every person!”
“When I became a Christian, suddenly God brought meaning and purpose to what had happened to me,” he said. “He spoke to me through Jeremiah 1:5, which says, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; before you were born, I sanctified you; and I ordained you a prophet to the nations.” This became a verse of my life—that God chose me to be His messenger.”
“He knew me from the womb, and He wanted me to live because He had a plan. You, too, are alive right now because God has a plan,” he urged. “Take everything that has happened in your life and give it to Him. He will take those things and galvanize you, and you will be victorious because God takes the evil and destructive things in our lives and uses them for good. The Bible says He makes beauty from ashes. If you are pregnant, allow the child within you the same privilege to live as you were given, and ask the Lord to show you what to do.”
“There is a remarkable, haunting verse found in Micah 6:7b, which says, Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? Don’t sacrifice your own child. Let your child live, and watch what God will do. In my family, we have biological and adopted grandchildren, and we love them all the same because we are one family. Someone out there wants your child, even if you don’t or are unable to provide for him/her. Choose life, and see the blessings that await you in return,” he concluded.