Pregnancy center fires back against San Francisco law targeting pro-lifers
SAN FRANCISCO, November 21, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - First Resort, a San Francisco pregnancy counseling clinic, is fighting back against a city ordinance that targets pro-life centers.
The clinic filed a lawsuit last Thursday in U.S. District Court against the Pregnancy Information Disclosure and Protection Ordinance, which enacts fines against crisis pregnancy centers for disseminating “misleading” advertisements.
The new regulations, which were approved recently by the city’s Board of Supervisors, are enforced only against facilities that do not provide or refer for abortions, which First Resort CEO Sheri Plunkett said violates the Constitution.
In a statement, Plunkett accused the city’s Board of Supervisors of designing the ordinance “to target one or two specific organizations and carefully shelter from its scope all groups whose viewpoints the City agrees with.”
“The ordinance is explicitly viewpoint-based repression of free speech on a subject that is at the heart of First Amendment protections,” she said.
Under the ordinance, responsibility for determining whether an advertisement is misleading would fall with city attorney Dennis Herrera, the 2004 recipient of NARAL Pro-Choice California’s “Champion of Choice” award.
If a pregnancy center is deemed to have violated the law, it could be subject to a fine and forced to pay for and disseminate “corrective advertising.”
Herrera launched an attack against First Resort before the ordinance even passed, accusing the organization of attempting to deceive women into thinking that they provided abortion services.
The other organization potentially impacted by the ordinance is Alpha Pregnancy Center. Alpha’s Executive Director, Chastidy Ronan, expressed support for First Resort’s lawsuit in a recent statement.
“We commend First Resort for their willingness to stand up for principled, constitutional protections for all,” said Ronan. “This law attacks one group of pregnancy resource providers, but not another group with a competing message. This creates an uneven playing field for free speech and is patently unfair. We will watch closely as the wheels of justice turn.”