Pro-life Groups File Brief in Pregnancy Help Centers’ Conscience Case

Charlotte Lozier Institute  

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 16, 2018
Contact: Nicole Stacy, nstacy@sba-list.org, 202-223-8073

 

Supreme Court Will Hear Pregnancy Centers’ Challenge to California Law that Forces Them to Promote Abortion

 

Washington, D.C.  – The Charlotte Lozier Institute (CLI), March for Life Education Fund, and Susan B. Anthony List’s National Pro-life Women’s Caucus have submitted an amicus curiae brief to the U.S. Supreme Court in support of pro-life pregnancy help centers (PHCs) that are challenging California’s so-called “Reproductive FACT Act,” which forces them to advertise and refer for abortion. The Court is expected to hear arguments in NIFLA v. Becerra this February and issue a ruling by July.

 

Bioethics Defense Fund (BDF) attorneys, serving as lead counsel, set forth a foundational legal argument that the role of government is to promote the preservation of human life, not its destruction. “Forcing [pregnancy help centers] to refer for abortion undermines their mission and threatens their existence with a never-before-recognized state interest in promoting the destruction of innocent human life,” the amicus brief states.

 

The brief’s main section set forth CLI research revealing that an overwhelming majority of Americans, regardless of whether they self-identify as “pro-life” or “pro-choice,” consider PHCs a valuable community resource. In 2010, PHCs provided more than 2 million people with free or low-cost services, with estimated community cost savings of more than $100 million, and surveys indicate PHCs have extremely high rates of client satisfaction.

 

The brief also set forth CLI-compiled data showing the impact of PHCs:

  • 2,752 center locations nationwide that provide vital services including obstetrical care, lactation services and parenting classes;
  • Six in 10 locations (or 1,661) offer free ultrasounds (up 10 percent since 2010)
  • 577 locations offer STD testing, 400 locations offer STD treatment onsite (up from 260 centers offering such services in 2010)
  • 100 mobile units with ultrasound rolling on the road to bring services to women out in the community
  • 30,000 contacts per month to Heartbeat International Option Line hotline
  • 81,630 volunteers (up 15 percent from 2010 figure of 70,000 volunteers; nine out of 10 center workers are volunteers)
  • 6.5 million volunteer hours (up from 5.7 million in 2010)

“The nation’s pro-life pregnancy centers and their advocates welcome the Supreme Court’s decision to accept this case,” said CLI President Chuck Donovan.  “In communities across the country, these facilities offer low- or no-cost services for women who seek to carry their children to term. California’s coercive law will not save one life; rather it will hasten the destruction of life and hope for many by targeting the heart of pregnancy centers’ mission of service. The law would also reduce women’s options at one of the most critical times in their lives. We look forward to a clear message from the High Court that this mandate and its cruel effects violate fundamental First Amendment guarantees.”

 

“For a government to conscript its citizens into its program to promote the death of innocent human beings would be contrary to the entire Western political tradition stretching back to the ancient Greeks, down to the Founding era, and up to our current Constitutional government,” said BDF president and general counsel Nikolas T. Nikas. “Whatever interest California might have or desire in promoting abortion,” said BDF counsel Dorinda C. Bordlee, “that interest is certainly not compelling enough to force individuals and organizations to violate their rights of free speech, nor to devastate their ability to serve vulnerable mothers and children in a manner consistent with their mission and values.”

Petitioner National Institute of Family and Life Advocates (NIFLA) represents more than 1,400 pregnancy help centers nationwide, including 135 in California.

 

Charlotte Lozier Institute was launched in 2011 as the education and research arm of Susan B. Anthony List. CLI is a hub for research and public policy analysis on some of the most pressing issues facing the United States and nations around the world. The Institute is named for a feminist physician known for her commitment to the sanctity of human life and equal career and educational opportunities for women.

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