A federal judge ordered the state of California to pay three pro-life pregnancy centers and a conservative law firm a total of $399,000 after a state law meant to force "crisis pregnancy centers" to promote abortion was struck down.
The Supreme Court found the California law requiring pro-life centers to display information about how to obtain a state-funded abortion unconstitutional in June. Then in October, a federal district court issued a permanent injunction against the law in question, the Freedom, Accountability, Comprehensive Care, and Transparency (FACT) Act.
U.S. District Court Judge Terry Hatter for the Central District of California issued an order Monday saying that California must pay the Pregnancy and Family Resource Center of San Bernardino, His Nesting Place of Long Beach, Birth Choice of the Desert in La Quinta, and the Liberty Counsel a total of $399,000 in legal fees and other costs.
Mat Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel, called it a victory for children, mothers, and families, as well as for the freedom of speech.
“Pro-life pregnancy centers will no longer be compelled to speak a message that goes against their mission to save the lives of babies and women," Staver said in a statement. "Faith-based pro-life pregnancy centers cannot be forced to promote human genocide.”
The 2015 law required most pro-life pregnancy centers to provide information to clients on where they can find low or no-cost abortions, and forced them to disclose what services they do and do not offer on their front door, in their waiting room, online, and in every advertisement from billboards to business cards. A study found that 98.5 percent of the clinics subject to the law were pro-life facilities.
If the centers didn't comply with the state-issued standards, they would be fined $500 for the first violation and $1,000 for each additional violation.
The Supreme Court, in a 5-4 ruling, called the law "unjustified and unduly burdensome."
Justice Clarence Thomas said in his majority opinion, "California cannot co-opt the licensed facilities to deliver its message for it."