- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 26, 2015

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - Californians who visit crisis pregnancy centers must know whether the facility is licensed and that abortion is an option under legislation advanced Tuesday by the state Assembly.

AB775 advanced on a party-line vote with Republicans saying it would violate free speech protections.

The bill responded to reports of misinformation at pregnancy centers that are opposed to abortion, including an unsubstantiated link between abortion and breast cancer.

“Women in California deserve to know about all of their options about family planning and reproductive health care so that they can make truly informed decisions,” said bill author Assemblywoman Autumn Burke, D-Inglewood.

Her legislation with Assemblyman David Chiu, D-San Francisco, would require pregnancy centers to post notices saying that reproductive health services, including abortion, are available to pregnant women and may be financed under government programs. It would not require referrals to abortion clinics. The centers would also have to disclose if they are not medically licensed.

Republican lawmakers say the provisions compel private groups that aren’t funded by the government to violate their founding beliefs.

“Having this organization required to carry a government message is clearly constitutionally wrong,” said Assemblywoman Shannon Grove, R-Bakersfield.

AB775 is supported by reproductive health groups that advocate for abortion rights and opposed by religious groups and the operators of some pregnancy centers.

Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins, who ran women’s health clinics before she entered politics, said providing a range of options is essential to reproductive health.

“This is about protecting the health and safety of women, it’s not about trampling on religious beliefs,” said Atkins, D-San Diego.

The legislation heads to the Senate after passing on a 46-25 vote.

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