Friday, September 29, 2023

California will pay more than $192,000 to settle a pro-life group’s free speech lawsuit

California state officials have agreed to settle a two-year-old lawsuit filed by Central California-based Right to Life, agreeing to respect the group’s right to free speech and paying $192,706 in legal fees.

Lawyers from the nonprofit law firm Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) represented the pro-life group in its fight against the state for freedom of speech.

The ADF filed a lawsuit in October 2021 after Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom signed SB 742, which made it illegal to approach a person within 30 feet of “a public street or sidewalk area” and “within 100 feet to approach the entrance or exit of a vaccination site and attempting to enter or exit a vaccination site.”

A vaccination site has been defined as “the physical location where vaccination services are provided, including, but not limited to, a hospital, physician’s office, clinic, or any commercial space or pop-up location available for vaccination services.”

Any violation of the law was “punished by a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars (US$1,000), imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding six months, or both.”

In the lawsuit, the ADF stated that the law limited Right to Life’s ability to peacefully provide charity services to needy women on the public sidewalk and street outside its own building – and even its own parking lot – since Right to Life is located right next door to a Planned Parenthood abortion clinic that administers the HPV vaccine.

As part of the settlement, California authorities agreed not to enforce discriminatory parts of the law against Right to Life or any of its speakers.

“Women facing unintended pregnancies deserve to be given every support and resource to make life choices for their unborn children, yet the state of California has unconstitutionally attempted to silence the voices of those who advocate for them . names,” said ADF senior attorney Denise Harle.

“This is a significant victory not only for our client Right to Life, but also for all other speakers in California,” he said. “The First Amendment protects all Californians, regardless of their opinions. Now Right to Life staff and volunteers can continue their important mission of helping at-risk women in Central California with their free, life-making services.”

In a statement, the California Family Council called the agreement a victory for “all speakers in California.”

“This is a victory not only for the pro-life movement in California, but also for the First Amendment rights of all Californians. SB 742 is a clear violation of constitutionally protected free speech. The government has no authority to determine where freedom lies.” “My expression, a God-given right, begins and ends,” the statement said.

According to the ADF, the Outreach Center, located next to Planned Parenthood Mar Monte’s main abortion center in Fresno, is the primary means of spreading the right to life for women considering abortion. The pro-life group provides free resources, offers support services and offers informational pamphlets on public sidewalks in front of its outreach center and between the outreach center and the Planned Parenthood campus.

The Outreach Center’s parking lot is adjacent to Planned Parenthood’s parking lot, and the two organizations share a sidewalk. Right to Life staff and volunteers speak kindly and peacefully to others within normal conversational distance to share their charitable support services.

After Right to Life filed its lawsuit, District Judge Dale Drozd, appointed by President Barack Obama, issued a partial injunction against enforcement of the law, according to The Christian Post.

In light of the Central California right-to-life settlement against Bonta, ADF attorneys have requested a court dismissal of the case. Katie Short of the Life Legal Defense Foundation, who served as local counsel in the case.

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
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