NAPA, Calif. -- A California judge ruled last week in favor of Life Legal in a case involving our challenge to a law that prohibits all out-of-pocket expenses for medical services related to abortion. Our challenge is based on two claims:
- Equal Protection: The law (SB 245) is unconstitutional because it does not treat people in similar circumstances (i.e., pregnant women) equally. The law clearly discriminates against women who choose childbirth, and in favor of those who choose to abort.
- Right to Privacy: The law intrudes on the state constitutional right to make certain choices free from government intrusion. It does so by providing financial incentives to women to abort their children.
California's Attorney General claims that the government has a legitimate interest in making sure women "are able to exercise their constitutional right to abortion" and argues that costs like insurance co-payments "interfere with access to the right."
The judge agreed with us that the law is likely discriminatory. He took the state to task for its one-sided view, noting that the Attorney General has not provided "a rational explanation as to why the State would not also have a legitimate interest in ensuring that those who want to are able to continue their pregnancies" without financial barriers such as cost-sharing.
In addition, the State is asking the court to review the law under the least robust judicial standard – the rational basis test. Under rational basis, a law is upheld if it has some kind of rational relationship to a government interest. Nearly every law can pass this low standard.
Life Legal argued that because the law infringes on the fundamental right to choose to continue a pregnancy, the highest standard of judicial review should apply – namely, strict scrutiny. This means the State must show that the law uses the least restrictive means to further a compelling government interest.
Again, the judge agreed with us that the higher standard applied, and also added, "The court is not satisfied that the Act passes even rational basis review." In other words, the judge does not believe the State has adequately shown that SB 245 is constitutional and is allowing our challenge to the law to proceed!
This is a significant victory in California, which has the most extreme abortion laws in the country, if not the world.
"Life Legal continues to fight the onslaught of abortion fanaticism in California, Minnesota, and other states that have doubled down on their baby-killing schemes," said Life Legal CEO Alexandra Snyder. "We will not sit by as pro-aborts lure women from states with robust pro-life laws to murderous abortion free-for-alls that are deadly for children and dangerous for women."
About Life Legal Defense Foundation
Life Legal Defense Foundation was established in 1989, and is a nonprofit organization composed of attorneys and other concerned citizens committed to giving helpless and innocent human beings of any age, and their advocates, a trained and committed voice in the courtrooms of our nation. For more information about the Life Legal Defense Foundation, visit www.lldf.org.