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Reproductive Rights

The Attorney General also joined in an amicus brief authored by New York Attorney General in Hill v. State of Colorado. The issue in that case was whether a Colorado statute that restricts access to persons entering healthcare facilities violates the First Amendment. The brief argued that the statute is constitutional.

In an action brought in federal district court, Sanctity of Human Life Network, et al. v. Lockyer, et al., plaintiffs have challenged the constitutionality of SB 780. SB 780 added the California Freedom of Access to Clinic and Church Entrances Act and the Reproductive Rights Law Enforcement Act to the Penal Code, effective January 1, 2002. Among other things, SB 780, which is modeled after existing federal law, sets forth criminal penalties for intentionally injuring or intimidating any reproductive health services client, provider or assistant, by force, threat of force or physical obstruction that is a crime of violence. SB 780 further provides that, to the extent the Legislature appropriates funds, the Attorney General shall collect information relating to anti-reproductive rights crimes, including the persons suspected of committing these crimes, and shall submit reports to the Legislature analyzing this information. Plaintiffs allege that SB 780 is unconstitutionally vague, is facially overly broad as the law could purportedly violate their freedom of speech, and that the provisions relating to data collection and reporting by the Attorney General could deprive plaintiffs of due process and their privacy rights. Plaintiffs assert causes of action under the United States and California Constitutions and under the "taxpayer action" provisions of the California Code of Civil Procedure. The Office of the Attorney General filed a motion to dismiss this action. In December 2002, the district court denied plaintiffs' motion for a preliminary injunction, granted the Attorney General's motion to dismiss and entered judgment for the defendants.

On January 25, 2005, the Office of the Attorney General filed an action against the federal government challenging an abortion-related spending restriction that could deny California agencies, including the Department of Education, more than $49 billion in federal funds. The restriction, known as the Weldon Amendment, could deny all federal funds from the Departments of Labor, Education and Health and Human Services to any State that discriminates against an individual or institutional health care entity on the basis that it "does not provide, pay for, provide coverage of, or refer for abortions." The complaint alleges the Weldon Amendment violates women's constitutional right to seek emergency abortion care, exceeds Congress' power under the Spending Clause of the U.S. Constitution, and infringes on state sovereignty in violation of the 10th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The complaint seeks a declaration that the Amendment is unconstitutional and a permanent injunction against its enforcement, or, in the alternative, a declaration that enforcement of state laws requiring provision of emergency medical services, including abortion care, does not violate the amendment. The case, pending in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California is entitled State of California, et al. v. United States of America, et al.

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