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California DA Orders Fetal Tissue Trafficking Companies to Close Down

After an investigation prompted by Center for Medical Progress’ undercover videos, Orange County, Calif., District Attorney Tony Rackauckas has ordered two California-based companies selling fetal tissue, DV Biologics and DaVinci Biosciences, to permanently close down within 60 and 120 days, respectively. The two companies must also pay a settlement of $7,785,000, and DV Biologics must pay $195,000 in civil penalties.

The district attorney discovered that these two companies had “unlawfully” sold “fetal-derived products to pharmaceutical companies and academic institutions around the world” between 2009 and 2011. Both companies are owned by Andres Isaias, who is part of an internationally known crime family.

Interestingly, Planned Parenthood is not implicated and was not part of the Orange County lawsuit. However, this week both the U.S. Justice Department and FBI announced a formal investigation into Planned Parenthood.

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SCOTUS to Weigh California Abortion Challenge Case

The U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear NIFLA v. Becerra, a First Amendment challenge to California’s Reproductive Freedom, Accountability, Comprehensive Care, and Transparency Act (FACT), that forces pro-life pregnancy resource centers to instruct women on how to access abortion via the state’s Medi-Cal program. Centers are subject to $500 fines for the first offense and $1,000 for subsequent offenses.

According to Thomas Glessnor, founder and president of NIFLA, the issue is “Can the government impose and compel a faith-based ministry to proclaim a message that they are fundamentally opposed to with the risk of being fined or shut down?”

A hearing on the case has not yet be set.

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California Judge Supports Free Speech of Pregnancy Care Centers

Victory for pro-lifers! Pregnancy resource centers in California do not have to post signage and inform clients about the state’s taxpayer-funded abortions and birth control through its Medi-Cal program, thanks to an injunction from Riverside County Superior Court Justice Gloria C. Trask.

Noting free speech concerns, Judge Trask wrote, “This statute compels the clinic to speak words with which it profoundly disagrees when the State has numerous alternative methods of publishing its message.”

It is expected that California’s Attorney General Xavier Beccera will challenge Trask’s ruling. Similar signage laws have been struck down in New York City, Baltimore, and Austin.

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California Governor Offers Good News for Christian Employers

Employers in California who disagreed with putting a stamp of approval on abortion and sex outside of marriage can now breathe a sigh of relief. The intent of Assembly Bill 569, which passed the California Legislature with the support of NARAL Pro-Choice of California, was to make it illegal for organizations to regulate their employees’ actions relative to abortion and sex outside of marriage through an employee code of conduct.

But Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed the bill, citing the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) that already prohibits adverse action against employees for “reproductive decisions” but grants an exemption to religious institutions.

California Family Council President Jonathan Keller praised Gov. Brown’s decision. “As the Supreme Court affirmed in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby in 2014, every organization’s religious freedom is protected by the First Amendment. To be faithful to their religious beliefs and core mission, they need the freedom to hire like-minded employees.”

Churches, Christian schools, religious nonprofits, and pro-life organizations in California can now hold their employees to a code of conduct consistent with the organization’s religious beliefs without fear of punishment by the state.

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Californians Can Be Jailed for Saying Wrong Gender Pronoun

California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a law that criminalizes through fines and jail time anyone who willfully and repeatedly refers to a “transgender” at long-term care facilities in the state by his or her given name and the pronouns corresponding to his or her biological sex. Those who don’t agree with this new form of gender identity politics have no freedom to disagree. As California Sen. Scott Wiener, who introduced the bill, said, “Everyone is entitled to their religious view, but when you enter the public space, when you are running an institution, you are in a workplace, you are in a civil setting, and you have to follow the law.”

Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins notes just how far that statement is from our Founding Fathers’ original understanding of the First Amendment and from even the Department of Justice’s latest pro-religious liberty viewpoint. Notes the Washington Times about this “Bill of Rights” for seniors, “It’s a Madness Law, one that opens the door for silly transgender activists to demand they be referred to as they choose . . . And the end game, of course, is the destruction of the traditional family.”

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