Federal Court Judge Saundra Brown Armstrong upheld most of a 2011 San Francisco law that prohibits the false advertising of anti-abortion crisis pregnancy centers. First Resort, a CPC based in San Francisco, sued the state of California in response to the truth in advertising law, alleged that the law is vague, is preempted by state law, and is a violation of their equal protection rights. Armstrong ruled that the law is not vague enough to be confusing and that it is not preempted by state law. She also ruled, however, that the law burdens First Resort's "fundamental rights" to equal protection, thus requiring a strict scrutiny review of the law. Under strict scrutiny, a law can only be upheld in cases "where the law serves a compelling government interest."
The law is aimed at "ensuring that indigent women facing unexpected pregnancies are not harmed by false or misleading advertising by certain providers of pregnancy-related services." It applies to CPCs with limited services, such as First Resort, and others that do not provide abortion services and emergency contraception or referrals.
San Francisco was the first city in the nation to adopt a truth in advertising law for CPCs. Similar laws have been passed in Baltimore, Maryland; Montgomery County, Maryland; Austin, Texas; and New York, New York. All of these laws have been struck down as a result of legal challenges.
Media Resources: Jezebel 10/04/12; Courthouse News Service 10/03/12; Think Progress 10/05/12
10/31/2014 Federal Judge Exempts Another Catholic University from Birth Control Coverage - A federal judge ruled Tuesday that Ave Maria University, a Catholic university in Florida, does not have to comply with federal rules meant to ensure that covered employees can exercise their right to obtain birth control at no cost.
The Affordable Care Act requires all new health insurance plans to cover all FDA-approved contraceptives - such as the pill, emergency contraceptives, and IUDs - without charging co-pays, deductibles or co-insurance. . . .
10/31/2014 Women of Color in Tennessee Are United in Opposition to Amendment 1 - Just days before the general election in Tennessee, a coalition of community leaders, clergy, and advocates led a press conference encouraging women of color to vote no on Amendment 1, a dangerous and far-reaching measure on the state's ballot.
SisterReach, a grassroots organization focused on "empowering, organizing, and mobilizing women and girls in the community around their reproductive and sexual health to make informed decisions about themselves," organized the press conference "to call attention to the unique concerns Black and poor communities throughout Shelby County and across the state of Tennessee face on a daily basis" and to emphasize how the upcoming election "could further limit [black women's] reproductive, economic, political, and social autonomy."
"We assemble today to impress upon black women and women of color, many of whom are heads of households, to get out and vote," said SisterReacher Founder and CEO Cherisse Scott at the event.
SisterReach has been educating voters about the particularly dangerous impact of Amendment 1 on women of color. . . .
10/30/2014 Medication Abortion Access Threatened by Oklahoma Court Ruling - An Oklahoma state district court judge has refused to block a state law restricting medication abortion, clearing the way for the law to go into affect on November 1.
The Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice, together with a local abortion clinic in Tulsa, challenged HB 2684 in September, arguing that the law was an unconstitutional restriction on non-surgical abortion in the earliest weeks of pregnancy. . . .