Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Two District Courts Refuse To Enjoin California's Reproductive FACT Act

In recent days, two separate California federal district courts have refused to enjoin the Jan. 1 effectiveness of California's new Reproductive FACT Act which requires reproductive health clinics to disseminate a notice to all clients stating 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 Livingwell Medical Clinic, Inc. v. Harris, (ND CA, Dec. 18, 2015), the court denied a preliminary injunction, finding that plaintiffs had not shown a likelihood of success on the merits of their claim that the required disclosures violate their free expression rights by interfering with their ability to control their own religious and pro-life messages. In A Woman's Friend Pregnancy Resource Clinic v. Harris, (ED CA, Dec. 21, 2015), the court similarly rejected free expression and free exercise claims in denying a preliminary injunction. In rejecting the free exercise claim, the court found that the Act is a neutral law of general applicability even though it mostly impacts Christian-belief based crisis pregnancy centers. Courthouse News Service reports on the decisions.