Fringe Groups Claim Constitutional Right to Withhold Information from Women, Challenge Popular California Law Passed to Protect Access to Accurate Health Information
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 13, 2017
With the US Supreme Court announcing it will hear the first challenge to abortion rights in the Court’s new era, NARAL Pro-Choice America called on the justices to protect women’s access to accurate medical information. The case centers around the Reproductive FACT Act, a California law sponsored by NARAL Pro-Choice California that makes it harder for anti-abortion groups to lie to and mislead women about their reproductive health options.
“This is the Supreme Court’s first test on abortion rights with Neil Gorsuch on the bench, and the decision could set the stage for how courts treat abortion rights for decades to come,” said Ilyse Hogue, NARAL Pro-Choice America President. “As right-wing groups increasingly spread lies about abortion and basic reproductive healthcare, this case is an early test of whether the Supreme Court can guarantee our rights in the Trump era, including access to abortion care.”
“Californians understand the value of having accurate, timely information about our health options, including abortion access,” said Amy Everitt, NARAL Pro-Choice California State Director “Women deserve to have all the facts in order to make the best decisions about their own health, lives, and futures. That’s why four federal courts have already rejected the arguments being made by these anti-choice groups. The principle here is simple: nobody’s ideology should ever be allowed to get between a woman and her doctor.”
California voters overwhelmingly support the requirements outlined in the FACT Act, including 69% of Republicans and 77% of Catholics. In 2015, NARAL was the main organizational sponsor of the Reproductive FACT Act, along with then-Attorney General Kamala Harris and Black Women for Wellness.
NARAL released a nationwide report on the fake clinics run by anti-abortion groups that lie, shame, and intentionally mislead women about their health options in order to block them from accessing their full range of reproductive care. This included a report on these activities in California, which led to the introduction of the FACT Act. By challenging the FACT Act, the anti-choice movement is using the courts to try to enforce their out-of-touch ideology through the court system. In fact, despite four federal court rulings that repeatedly denied requests to block enforcement of the law, anti-choice groups engaged in legal bullying in an attempt to keep California cities from enforcing the law.
Background information on the Reproductive FACT Act:
- The FACT Act helps ensure that women have access to accurate reproductive health information so they can make the best decisions for themselves and their families. The law requires that licensed clinics provide clients with information about California’s programs that provide free or low-cost family planning services, prenatal care, and abortion services and contact information for the county social services office.
- The FACT Act helps protect California women from lies and misinformation from fake clinics that call themselves “crisis pregnancy centers.” NARAL compiled a comprehensive report on these anti-abortion centers, highlighting the devastating impact they have on women who seek access to reproductive care.
- While the anti-choice movement has used every avenue to protest the FACT Act, four federal courts have already rejected their claims. Every single court that heard the case rejected their claims, but nevertheless they have continued to push their specious claims.
- Anti-choice groups have attempted to convince courts that they have a first amendment right to withhold medically accurate information from women. As esteemed first amendment expert Erwin Chemerinsky notes, not only do these claims not hold up to constitutional scrutiny, they are simply a pretext to take away women’s rights.