Liberty Counsel represents three pro-life crisis pregnancy centers in Southern California that were forced to promote abortion as a result of the California Reproductive FACT Act.
This law compels pro-life crisis pregnancy centers to post notices in their physical clinics, printed material, and online regarding the availability of free and low-cost abortions.
Liberty Counsel's case Mountain Right to Life v. Becerra, was sent back from the U.S. Supreme Court to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, after the High Court ruled in National Institute of Family and Life Advocates (NIFLA) v. Becerra that crisis pregnancy centers cannot be forced to promote abortions. Liberty Counsel is now awaiting further action after the Supreme Court sent the case back from Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
The three pro-life crisis pregnancy centers offer women pregnancy resources, counseling, advice and alternatives to abortion. One of them is Mountain Right to Life, known as the Pregnancy and Family Resource Center in San Bernardino. The California Reproductive FACT Act directly opposes its mission and forces it to endorse the government language promoting the abortion message on their front door, in their waiting room and in every advertisement for the crisis pregnancy center, in 48-point font and in up to 13 languages.
Pregnancy and Family Resource Center's Executive Director Lisa Stiefken says, "For the government to require me to tell clients where to get a free or low-cost abortion, that means our freedom of speech is not protected unless you are part of a group that the government favors. That disturbs me! You realize just how far our society has gone."
For Stiefken, Liberty Counsel's client, this is not a theoretical game, but a daily mission of life over death. One day, a loud argument between a young couple wafted into her office. The new mother wanted to stay, but her boyfriend demanded they leave immediately to keep their appointment at the Planned Parenthood facility next door. When Stiefken went to meet them, the new mother was crying and wanted a free ultrasound.
It wasn't long before Stiefken heard more commotion in the waiting room. The father had a string of ultrasound pictures in his hand. His face was beaming with joy as he showed everyone in the waiting room saying repeatedly, "Here is my baby!"
Months later, Stiefken was straightening up her office and saw a toddler waddling across the waiting room. A voice interrupted her, "Excuse me." She knew that voice. The father, with tears in his eyes, thanked her for the ultrasound and said, "If it hadn't been for you, I wouldn't have my son!"
This was one of 300 appointments and 125 unique clients the Pregnancy and Family Resource Center serves each month. When the California Reproductive FACT Act was created, Stiefken stated she tried to find "a way that doesn't compromise our values and beliefs and keeps our doors open."
Closing the center's doors "absolutely never occurred to me," says Stiefken. However, it would only take a few complaints about the center to incur thousands of dollars in fines. That means the non-profit pregnancy center, which is nestled between two busy abortion facilities, would leave women with nothing but the choice of death for their unborn babies. Every month, "The lives of 600 babies would be in jeopardy," Stiefken says.
Not everything has a happy ending at the Pregnancy and Family Resource Center. Even when a mother leaves to get an abortion next door, the staff encourages her to "come back when you need us."
Planned Parenthood has a strict time limit on how long a woman can stay in its facility to recover from an abortion. Some come back to Stiefken for comfort and help. She said, "They walk in our doors and throw up in our clinic. We let them lie down, cool down, rest and give them water." No matter what the situation is, Stiefken is there to help.
The Pregnancy and Family Resource Center receives no grants or government money, but their donors are individuals, churches and businesses.
"Life is sacred. Every penny, every diaper, every wipe comes from our partners in our community," Stiefken says. "If we would have had to hire an attorney, we would have been broken. We couldn't have even entertained that idea; it is absolutely prohibitive. "Without Liberty Counsel's offer of free legal representation, our existence would have been threatened. Liberty Counsel's representation is a blessing and really miraculous. Not just for us but for everyone. A lot more was at stake; if this law was allowed to stand, other states would try to copy it," Stiefken says.
"I am so proud of the precious women and unborn children's lives that are saved through the incredible staff at Pregnancy and Family Resource Center," says Liberty Counsel Founder and Chairman Mat Staver. "Those who advocate for abortion wish to silence anyone who provides support to women in crisis pregnancies so that abortion is their only option.
"In contrast, the Pregnancy and Family Resource Center is on the front lines, empowering mothers and fathers to make the right choices, which in turn, save many lives of the most helpless and forgotten of our society. At Liberty Counsel, we are there to ensure they can stay focused on helping others. Our mission is to clear the path so Lisa Stiefken and her team can freely accomplish the mission God has given them."
For the original article visit lc.org.
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