Two new laws that are currently moving through California’s state legislature will mandate that a “sexual or reproductive health hotline” number be printed on all student IDs and that public colleges in the state provide chemical abortion services to students.
The National Catholic Register is reporting on the bills that are making their way through the legislature. The first bill, A.B. 624, would amend the state education code to mandate that a toll-free number for “reproductive health” facilities be posted on all student IDs, including religious institutions of higher education.
Not surprisingly, the sponsor of the bill, Assemblyman Jesse Gabriel, received a $4,400 campaign contribution from Planned Parenthood which pro-life groups believe influenced his plan to introduce the bill.
When staffers from the California Catholic Conference visited his office, he denied the charge and insisted that “he had no other agenda than wanting to help students … and Planned Parenthood wasn’t behind the bill,” Andrew Rivas, the new executive director of the conference, told the Register.
Republican California Assemblyman Kevin Kiley, who spoke out about the bill in an Assembly Education Committee hearing, said AB 624 is “an effort by the California legislature to expose every high school and college student in California to a specific value system, regardless of their personal beliefs,” he said.
These laws are sparking intense opposition from pro-life legislators and activists, reports Joan Frawley Desmond for the Register. “They argue that both measures give Planned Parenthood and other abortion business greater access to young people, shaping values and real-time choices. And they contend that the mandated posting of the hotline on student badges would force young pro-lifers to promote an organization they vehemently oppose.”
The second bill, S.B. 24, calls for the provision of chemical abortions at all 34 California public colleges and universities. Pro-life activists such as Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life, has vowed to help her state affiliates defeat the bill and is scheduled to testify against it on April 28.
Californians for Life director Wynette Sills had the same concerns and called the proposed bill a game changer.
“It would mandate that our public universities distribute chemical abortion pills, ending human life up to 10 weeks of pregnancy,” she told the Register.
Unfortunately, S.B. 24 has a good chance of passing because a similar bill passed the legislature last year but never made it into law because former Governor Jerry Brown refused to sign it. Gov. Brown believed the number of abortion pill providers in the state were plentiful enough that it wasn’t necessary to involve universities with distribution of the drugs. But the new governor, Gavin Newsom, appears eager to sign it should it pass this time around.
The student ID law could be trickier because of a 2018 Supreme Court decision to overtun a California law that compelled women’s health centers to post signs with information about free abortions. Writing for the majority, Justice Clarence Thomas said the state could find other means of informing women about abortion services without co-opting licensed facilities “to deliver its message for it.”
Assemblyman Kiley told the Register that while he believes the bill “is objectionable on its face, it is also likely that it will be struck down as an unconstitutional form of compelled speech.”
Even if the bill passes and becomes law, legal action is expected.
In the meantime, prolife activists in the state say they need more people to push back against these bills.
“It is not enough for advocacy groups, like the California Catholic Conference” to speak out, said Jonathan Teller, president of the California Family Council. “State legislators need to hear from individual parishes and citizens in their district,” he said.
“They need to know that legislation like this affects real people, that parents don’t want their kids to become walking billboards for the abortion industry.”
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