Op-ed: The unbalanced California FACT Act

  • By Cal Thomas
  • Friday, March 23, 2018 2:34pm
  • Opinion

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court will hear arguments over whether pro-life pregnancy help centers in California should be required to post notices informing women of the availability of abortions elsewhere. The pregnancy help centers are contesting the law, disingenuously named the California Reproductive FACT Act, claiming it violates their free speech rights, as well as undercuts the reason for their existence.

Some might ask in the interest of fairness and equality (two buzzwords the left likes to use in other situations) whether abortion clinics are required to post notices with information about alternatives to the procedure.

According to Ingrid Duran, state legislation director for National Right to Life, the nation’s oldest and largest pro-life organization, “There is no provision in the California so-called Fact Act that would require abortion facilities to inform women about the resources available from pregnancy resource centers.” She adds, “It is not surprising that (the) pro-abortion lobby would threaten pregnancy resource centers that offer life-affirming alternatives, since this is in contradiction to their mission of the unfettered right to abort innocent unborn children.”

In defending the law, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, a Democrat, says, “Everyone is entitled to accurate information about their health care, and that’s simply what the FACT Act says. There is nothing coercive, nothing intrusive in the requirements of the law that infringe upon someone’s First Amendment rights. It’s about making sure women have accurate information about their health care.”

I have some personal experience with this issue, having spoken over several decades for fundraising events at nonprofit pregnancy help centers. I have listened to the stories of hundreds of women, some of whom wanted an abortion until they received alternative information, then chose to give birth. I have heard from other women who had abortions and later regretted their decision. These women told me they would have chosen to give birth had they received information about alternatives and seen a sonogram of their unborn child.

It is the abortion industry, which makes money off these vulnerable women, that fears information, otherwise they would be posting signs in their facilities about alternatives and the kind of help available during pregnancy and after birth. The pregnancy help centers, unlike the abortionists, do not charge for their services, raising the question of who cares more about women?

There are federal laws requiring that certain information be placed on packaged foods. It’s called truth in labeling. Women (and men) are required to have detailed information when applying for a bank loan or buying a house or car.

I once debated a liberal feminist about this. She said I was implying women aren’t smart enough to know what their choices are. I replied, “Fine, then let’s remove the labels from packaged products because women should be smart enough to figure out whether they contain corn or green beans.”

If information is power, then we who are pro-life should favor more information, not less, so that the choices women make will be fully informed. This would include, in addition to information about pregnancy help centers, sonograms so that a woman seeking an abortion could see what she is about to terminate.

I have heard stories of women who have viewed sonograms of their babies deciding against abortion. Many more view the sonograms and go through with the procedure. But if a sonogram will save even one life, shouldn’t we make them mandatory before abortions can be performed?

That is a law that should be passed. By providing a full spectrum of information, such a law would empower women to make fully informed choices. It would be far better than the California FACT Act, which undermines the compassionate (and free) work of that state’s pregnancy help centers.

Readers may email Cal Thomas at tcaeditors@tribpub.com.

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