The following comes from an August 25 Pregnancy Help News article by Jay Hobbs:
California’s statewide crusade against life-affirming alternatives to abortion took an alarming turn August 18, when Los Angeles City Attorney Michael Feuer announced his office had succeeded in bullying a state-licensed pregnancy help medical clinic into compliance with a law the clinic says violates its deeply held religious convictions.
Pregnancy Counseling Center’s leaders and board of directors had drawn a line in the sand: they were not going to comply with the state of California’s 2015 edict that would force them to violate their deeply held religious convictions by participating in an abortion referral.
So, when the state’s so-called “Reproductive FACT Act” went into effect Jan. 1, 2016—mandating signage that not only tells clients about state-funded abortions through Medi-Cal, but also gives a phone number on where to get started on getting an abortion—the pro-life pregnancy medical clinic stood its ground.
Likewise, when Feuer threatened to enforce the law in a letter to the clinic on May 16, Pregnancy Counseling Center held firm.
Same goes for July 15, when Feuer sent the clinic—which serves over 1,100 women each year across from Family Planning Associates, one of the largest abortion provider in the San Fernando Valley—a follow-up letter reiterating his intent to enforce the law, which the Democrat-controlled state legislature had established on a Big Abortion-friendly party-line vote in 2015.
Then, on Aug. 18, Feuer made his announcement: Pregnancy Counseling Center would now comply with the law and begin distributing the state’s compelled signage. The state’s disclaimer is now printed in 14-point font, and in the county’s 13 threshold languages, as the law demands.
“They’re out to make an example of us,” Nancy Corbett, the clinic’s executive director, said. “They just want their foot in the door. They were testing the waters as to how much we’re willing to fight. What’s next? What’s coming down the line is my big question.”
What changed along the way was Feuer’s strategy to enforce the law. Up for re-election in a Democrat-heavy jurisdiction, Feuer had promised as early as May that his office wasn’t waiting for the court to hand down its ruling. In July, he told Rebecca Pleven of KPCC, the local NPR affiliate, “I will pursue all the remedies that I have available to me.”
Feuer’s remedy, in the end, was to enforce a law that is currently being challenged by wielding an unfair competition business practice law. Unable to turn up any sort of health code violations, Feuer scoured California’s Business & Professions Code until he found an obscure and largely unenforced regulation that served to back Pregnancy Counseling Center into a corner.
Not only did the tactic allow Feuer to enforce the Reproductive FACT Act, it introduced a fine of $2,500 per violation plus attorney’s fees for violations—up from the Reproductive FACT Act’s $500 first-time offender price tag.
Had Pregnancy Counseling Center and Corbett appealed to courts locally, they would have been asking for relief from justices appointed by California Governor Jerry Brown, who signed the Reproductive FACT Act into law last October. That’s when Pregnancy Counseling Center decided they had no choice but to comply.