California Against Free Speech

In California, Gov. Jerry Brown has signed into law a requirement that women’s reproductive health clinics must inform patients of abortion as an alternative. The requirement now applies to religious-based clinics, even if such a requirement goes against the clinicians’ personal beliefs.

So, what they’re saying is, even if you oppose abortion you must nevertheless aid the woman or girl in her possibly getting an abortion. This doesn’t only apply to clinics that receive public funding, but those that don’t as well. And it applies to both licensed and unlicensed clinics. The new law has caused two lawsuits now. This is clearly a freedom of speech issue. If Dr. Smith wants to care for pregnant women at her clinic but feels that discussing abortion violates her religious views, she has a freedom of speech right not to discuss it. So this is the government really forcing a medical practitioner to discuss something that goes against her deeply held beliefs.

But UC, Irvine “constitutional law” professor Erwin Chemerinsky agrees with the law, in this op-ed in the LA Times. To diminish the serious rights-infringement aspect of the lawsuits, Chemerinsky immediately begins by writing, “Is merely requiring clinics to inform women of the availability of free or low-cost abortions an unconstitutional infringement of religious liberty?” Note his use of “merely,” like it’s no big deal. You see, to some people who identify very closely with a particular agenda (in this case, the abortion agenda), he doesn’t seem to empathize very well with those who are being forced to express ideas they strongly oppose.

Chemerinsky concludes his essay with a very incorrect assertion about the two clinics involved in the suit: “They are both part of an aggressive ongoing effort to deny women access to reproductive healthcare.” By “reproductive healthcare,” he means “abortion,” which he won’t even state explicitly at the end. And c’mon, Professor, no one is being “denied access” to abortion facilities. No, the two religious clinics are speaking up for themselves (in the absence of “constitutional law” professors who won’t speak up for them) in the ongoing crusade to force them to express views and ideas that violate their religious beliefs.

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