I remember many years ago there was a bumper sticker that asked, “What do you choose when you’re pro-choice?”
In reality, most “pro-choice” advocates often push one choice to be available and exercised — the choice to terminate a baby’s life via abortion. And now if the liberal legislature and governor in California have their way, the promotion of the choose-abortion message will be spread even further.
Last month, Governor Jerry Brown signed into law a requirement that pro-life crisis pregnancy centers must advertise in writing — in large print — where women can get an abortion for free or for low cost, including a phone number where the women can call to get that information.
Recently, I interviewed Brad Dacus, the head of Pacific Justice Institute, a legal group based in California, fighting for religious liberty. On behalf of a couple of pro-life centers, they have filed suit to keep this law from going into effect, which it is scheduled to do January 1, 2016
Dacus told me: “Here we have a faith-based pregnancy center, loving and caring for women and their unborn child, being forced to advertise what they consider to be murder and the victimization of women. This is the government requiring this in order for them to even continue to exist anywhere in the state of California. It’s a horrific piece of legislation.”
He added, “That is a clear violation of the First Amendment right of every pregnancy clinic in the state of California.”
Similar laws in other states have been struck down, so Dacus is optimistic that justice will prevail — that “government intrusion into private religious institutions like this — commanding them what they have to say, government-compelled speech — will be declared unconstitutional.”
Meanwhile, pro-abortion advocates hope that this new law could be passed elsewhere. Many of them are claiming this new California law is an enormous victory in stemming the tide of pro-life pregnancy centers.
In a NARAL pro-abortion video, a young lady claims that she visited 43 crisis pregnancy centers across the states. This is what she found: “No matter what I said, their answer was always the same, ‘Keep the baby.’” Horrors.
Many women who thought abortion was going to be a simple solution to a complex problem have had all sorts of emotional, spiritual, and sometimes even physical problems from abortion. Thankfully, there is healing and mercy to be found for those who repent and turn to Jesus. But the scars remain.
Through private donations and usually Christian love, the crisis pregnancy centers do what they do — to try to reach women and provide them with true alternatives to abortion.
A couple years ago, a homeless heroin addict named Hillary found that she was pregnant. She entered A Woman’s Friend Pregnancy Resource Clinic of Marysville, California, not too far from Sacramento. This clinic is one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit Pacific Justice has filed.
Hillary expected everyone there to judge her, but they didn’t. When she arrived, she said, “I can’t imagine how I’m going to stop using heroin for my baby. I can’t even do it for myself.” She wanted to get a free pregnancy test and then go on from there to get an abortion.
When she saw her unborn baby on the ultrasound, it gave her pause. A week later she was arrested. While in jail, center volunteers continued to help her. She said, “My client advocate stayed in touch with me that entire time. She wrote me letters just to let me know that, whenever I was ready to come back, she would be excited to see me.”
Hillary chose to keep the baby, and the center was able to help her get access to everything she needed. The clinic helped her not only to save her baby, but to turn her life around. She is very grateful for the difference they made in her life.
If the new law goes into effect, some of the nearly 170 crisis pregnancy centers in California may no longer be able to help women like Hillary. Some of them might feel so compromised in their mission that they might pursue some other voluntary work.
Dacus told me, “It would be difficult on a day-to-day basis, I believe, for these individuals — these volunteers and medical personnel — to work in an office where there’s a big poster encouraging women to do the opposite of everything they believe in, everything they know is probably right and is in the best interest of the woman and their unborn child.”
He adds, “I analogize this with the government telling Alcoholics Anonymous that they can have their meetings, but they have to have a big sign telling their patrons where they can get free booze.”
Those who claim to be “pro-choice” are really only about one choice.