In Scharpen Foundation, Inc. v. Harris, (CA Super. Ct., Oct 30, 2017), a California state trial court held that the state’s Reproductive FACT Act violates the free speech protections of Art. I, Sec. 2 of the California Constitution. The challenged statute requires licensed pregnancy counseling clinics to post or provide to patients a notice on the existence of publicly-funded family planning services, including contraception and abortion. Applying strict scrutiny, the court said in part:There is no question that the State has a legitimate regulatory interest in the practice of the healing arts.  In the midst of this contentious political dispute the State commands that specific State authored words be mouthed by the clinic at the very beginning of its relationship with those who come to it for guidance…. The statute interferes with both the right of the clinician to speak and with the right of the patient to hear what the clinician would say in the absence of State censorship….It is entirely proper for the State to take its position supporting access to abortion…. But its ability to impress free citizens into State service in this political dispute cannot be absolute….Last year the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the California statute against free speech and free exercise challenges raised under the U.S. Constitution. (See prior posting.) Liberty Counsel issued a press release announcing this week’s state court decision.



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