On Tuesday, April 28th, California State Assembly Bill 775 passed the State Assembly’s Committee on the Judiciary (vote of 7-3) and is now on its way to the Appropriations Committee of the State Assembly. AB 775 is also known as “The Reproductive FACT Act” (Freedom, Accountability, Comprehensive Care and Transparency), which just sounds so positive and unobjectionable, but it should have more accurately been named “The Reproductive CRAP Act” (Coerced Recommendations for Abortion Practices) to reflect its true nature.
According to rhrealitycheck.org, AB 775 requires any clinics which provide pregnancy-related services, including Crisis Pregnancy Centers, to “inform patients that California has public programs that provide immediate free or low-cost access to comprehensive family planning services, prenatal care, and abortion, for eligible women.”
In other words, facilities that provide abortion want to require CPCs, by law, to advertise cheap abortion for them (I’m surprised they aren’t requiring CPC workers to do a jig and present this information in the form of a song)(oh right, that’s the next bill).
Opponents point out that the bill’s requirements amount to forced abortion referrals, which CPCs are protected from under the Hyde/WeldonConscience Protection Amendment. A lawyer representing the bill’s opposition, Sheldon Hadley, says, “The authors of AB 775 know the Hyde/Weldon Amendment prohibits abortion referrals and discrimination or forced abortion referrals, and therefore were careful to avoid using the word ‘referral’ in the bill. But a rose is still a rose under any other name.”
But I suppose it wouldn't be beyond proponents to feign ignorance when it comes to the definition of “refer” in order to avoid respecting the Weldon Amendment protections. We can only hope ignorance isn't a valid argument in court, because this bill surely amounts to abortion referrals. Check it:
5)Requires licensed covered facilities to disseminate the following notice in English and in minority languages pursuant to the federal Voting Rights Act, that states the following:
"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]. "
The patient would then call the given number, and social services would recommend x, y, and z abortion centers in the area. But yeah, totally not a referral.
A very similar abortion-referral bill is also on its way to being approved in Illinois. It passed the Senate by a 34-19 vote and is now in the General Assembly House. Funny how 39 years ago, the same state’s Republican Congressman, Henry Hyde, sponsored the Amendment that this very law is attempting to undermine. Oh how times (read: politicians) change.