Fighting to Preserve Pro-Life Freedom of Speech

On Friday, Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law SB 742, another audacious violation of the First Amendment.

Life Legal Defense Foundation is seeking a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction against the enforcement of SB 742.

Originally drafted to protect those wanting a COVID vaccine from harassment, the new law makes it a crime to approach within 30 feet of another person who is within 100 feet of any abortion facility, drug store, stand-alone health clinic, and supermarket in the state — every location that is a “vaccination site.”

The legislature went even further by creating a brand new definition of what is considered “harassing” behavior to encompass normal, everyday free speech like holding a sign, speaking, or handing out a pamphlet. SB 742 defines “harassing” 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.”

The law makes pro-life sidewalk counseling a misdemeanor, carrying a sentence of 6 months’ jail time, a $1000 fine, or both. And it goes into effect immediately. This impacts every sidewalk counselor–and every 40 Days for Life campaign, including the Right to Life League’s peaceful prayer protests outside Planned Parenthood in Pasadena.

“SB 742 is an overbroad unconstitutional restriction on the First Amendment rights of pro-life Americans,” says Susan S. Arnall, Esq., Director of Outreach and Engagement for the Right to Life League. “We salute Life Legal Defense Foundation for its proactive defense of pro-life speech. And we are confident that the courts will strike down SB 742 as unconstitutional.”