Dr. James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family, called on operators of crisis pregnancy centers in California to defy the law that requires them to promote abortion. He suggested that the operators should choose to go to jail rather than violate their conscience.
"If California attempts to enforce this law, then do not comply. Make them put you in jail," he said in a statement released on Tuesday.
The Reproductive FACT Act, which requires all licensed pregnancy centers in California to provide information about "free or low-cost access" to abortions, was upheld by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals last Friday. Those who are found in violation of the mandate will face fines amounting to $500.
"This ruling now forces these clinics to violate their sincerely held religious beliefs, and it is an affront to our constitutionally mandated rights to life and to religious freedom," Dobson wrote.
Dobson brought up the significance of the elections and pointed out that either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton will be appointing justices to the Supreme Court. He emphasized that the Supreme Court will ultimately decide whether the Reproductive FACT Act would remain a law in California and whether it will become the law across the nation.
"This law — and laws like it — violate the U.S. Constitution, and they are a violation of our Christian conscience, and this ruling is yet another example of the power of activist judges. I encourage anyone with a voice to use it and to do so urgently," Dobson continued.
The law, which went into effect on Jan. 1, was challenged by three pregnancy care centers namely the National Institute of Family and Life Advocates (NIFLA), Pregnancy Care Center and Fallbrook Pregnancy Resource Center. The complainants argued that the law infringes on the freedom of speech and the free exercise of religion.
The court contended that the pregnancy centers are only required to disseminate a message that provides information to the reader and it does not encourage or imply that women should undergo abortions.
NIFLA President Thomas Glessner told LifeNews that the organization and its attorneys are discussing the most effective legal options to pursue. "This battle is far from over," he said.