A federal judge in San Diego has permanently barred enforcement of California’s Reproductive FACT Act, which requires pro-life crisis pregnancy centers to disseminate information about abortion.
The Friday order follows a June 26 Supreme Court decision that found that the FACT Act likely violates the First Amendment.
“The government has no business forcing anyone to express a message that violates their convictions, especially on deeply divisive subjects such as abortion,” said the Alliance Defending Freedom’s Michael Farris, who represented a coalition of pro-life groups challenging the law. “California disregarded that truth when it passed its law forcing pro-life centers to advertise for the abortion industry. The district court’s order puts a permanent end to that law in light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in June, which rightly found that ‘the people lose when the government is the one deciding which ideas should prevail.’”
“The outcome of this case affirms the freedom that all Americans have to speak — or not to speak — in accordance with their conscience,” Farris added.
There are some 200 pro-life pregnancy clinics in California, many of which have a religious orientation. The FACT Act required clinics licensed by the state to post a bulletin relaying information about abortion access in a “conspicuous place” within the facility. Unlicensed clinics — which provide various support services but do not offer advanced medical care — must disclose that they are not credentialed to practice medicine on site and in all advertisements.
The National Institute of Family and Life Advocates (NIFLA) challenged the law on constitutional grounds, arguing it violated the First Amendment because it forces a private speaker to spread a message with which they disagree.
California countered that it has a legitimate interest in ensuring its citizens are well-informed about the range of reproductive health options available to them. The state also feared many pro-life clinics conceal their anti-abortion mission from unwitting patients.
On appeal to the Supreme Court, a five justice majority led by Justice Clarence Thomas found the law likely violates the First Amendment. The case then returned to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California, which entered final judgment against the FACT Act. The plaintiffs may also ask to recoup the cost of the litigation.
In one of his last opinions on the court, Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote a concurrence “to underscore that the apparent viewpoint discrimination here is a matter of serious constitutional concern.”
“Governments must not be allowed to force persons to express a message contrary to their deepest convictions,” Kennedy wrote. “Freedom of speech secures freedom of thought and belief. This law imperils those liberties.”
Meanwhile in California, at a “Free Vibrator Day” event hosted at San Diego State University, hundreds of the battery-powered sex toys were distributed to students who had lined up for the complimentary devices.
The event was held in the Pride Suite of SDSU’s Aztec Student Union, with a line of students — mostly females — flanking the side of the building and a student organizer calling out “destigmatize masturbation” to passersby.
Jill McDevitt, also known as “Dr. Jill,” is a San Diego-based sexuality educator with a PhD in human sexuality who coordinated the event with the help of an adult novelty retailer called CalExotics, which supplied the approximately 500 vibrators given away to students.
McDevitt also partnered with a student feminazi club at SDSU called the Womyn’s Outreach Association to put on the giveaway.
A flier advertising the event states its intent is to free women from the stigma of masturbation.
“There is a major orgasm gap between the genders,” McDevitt told The College Fix. “There’s a whole emphasis on penile vaginal intercourse being normal, and not only is that really heteronormative, but it also leaves out how most women experience orgasms, most women experience orgasms with clitoral stimulation, and this vibrator will do that.”
McDevitt said this is an annual event, but it made sense to host it at a university this year, noting she often works with college students.
“I also want to provide people’s first vibrator because a lot of people are going to be getting their first ever vibrator here today, and it becomes a life long relationship with their sexuality and me being a person who can be there for them through that journey, so it just makes sense to work with college students,” she said.
The flier touting the event added: “Dr. Jill, CalExotics and WOA refuse to apologize for the fact that masturbation is normal, healthy and fun. Masturbation stigma is even worse for women, and vibrators are a tool of sexual liberation from that stigma.” In addition to the vibrator giveaway, students were given condoms and opportunities to host sex-ed classes. The two-hour event took place from 10 a.m. to noon. As students waited in line, volunteers asked students history-themed questions about vibrators.
Inside the suite where the vibrators were located, there were tables set up for McDevitt and the Womyn’s Outreach Association, complete with the vibrators, condoms, fliers, and even a raffle where students could have a chance to win a free in-home sex education class of their choice.
There was a large stand up sign listing the types they could choose from by McDevitt (Sex Ed 101, Female Orgasm 101, Sex Positions 101, Foreplay 101, Sex Toys 101, and Fellatio 101).
Outside the suite, a student held up a sign that read, “Free! Vibrator.” She called out “it’s amazing for everyone,” “everyone does it, we know it’s not a secret,” and “might as well make it better.” She was later asked by someone working for the university to stop.
James E Windsor, Overpasses News Desk
October 29th, 2018