Many pro-life sidewalk counselors have called us to ask what their response should be in light of the recent enactment of SB 742, which criminalizes certain activities outside “vaccination sites.” Many Planned Parenthoods and other abortion mills provide Gardasil vaccines, making them vaccination sites under the law.
We have even heard sad stories of sidewalk counselors and prayer teams shutting down their vigils because of SB 742. This is entirely uncalled for!
Do not be bullied into giving up your First Amendment rights! Your presence outside California abortion mills is needed now more than ever!
Life Legal filed a federal lawsuit challenging SB 742 as an unconstitutional restriction on free speech. We, along with constitutional scholars like UCLA Law Professor Eugene Volokh, are confident the law will be struck down. To read the lawsuit, click here.
A hearing has been scheduled for October 27 and we – along with constitutional scholars like UCLA Law Professor Eugene Volokh – are confident the law will be struck down. To read the lawsuit, click here.
Here is what SB 742 does and does not do:
- The law only applies to abortion clinics and other locations that provide vaccines. It does not apply to abortion clinics that do not provide Gardasil or any other type of vaccine.
- Contrary to what some are reporting, the law does not prohibit all free speech activities within 100 feet of a vaccination site, which is defined as a location that provides any type of vaccine.
- The law does prohibit certain activities, including obstruction, interference, and “harassment” within 100 feet of a vaccination site.
- Harassment is redefined in the law as “knowingly approaching, without consent, within 30 feet of another person or occupied vehicle for the purpose of passing a leaflet or handbill to, displaying a sign to, or engaging in oral protest, education, or counseling with, that other person in a public way or on a sidewalk area.”
- Nothing prohibits people from simply standing on the public sidewalk, holding signs, praying, and even handing out leaflets to passersby (as long as you are not approaching without consent).
- Pro-lifers are permitted to stand on the sidewalk directly in front of an abortion clinic, within 20, 10, or even 5 feet of the entrance, as long as they remain on the public sidewalk.
If you are still concerned about complying with the law, simply stand still.
If you have questions about the application of the law to your sidewalk counseling activities, contact us here or call 707.224.6675.