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California To Shell Out Nearly $200,000 After Getting Slapped With Free Speech Lawsuit

Right to Life of Central California reached a settlement with California state officials who are agreeing to pay $192,706 in attorneys’ fees, according to a Tuesday press release from Alliance Defending Freedom.

Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) attorneys representing Right to Life filed the federal lawsuit in October 2021, shortly after California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed SB 742 making it unlawful to approach someone who is within 100 feet of an entrance or exit of a “vaccination site.” Within the terms of the settlement, California state officials agree not to enforce the provisions of the law that had restricted demonstrations by the Right to Life as well as pay attorney fees and expenses.

The lawsuit claimed Right to Life’s speech was severely restricted on private and public property and urged the court to declare SB 742 unconstitutional. Located next to Planned Parenthood Mar Monte (a facility that provides the HPV vaccine), Right to Life was prohibited from using public walkways as well as the street and parking lot directly outside its own building for outreach to women considering abortion, according to a press release from ADF.

“California can no longer prevent pro-life advocates from exercising their First Amendment rights to interact with women and couples in need outside of abortion clinics, solely because the clinic happens to offer some kind of vaccine,” said Right to Life Executive Director John Gerardi in a statement to the Daily Caller News Foundation. “SB 742 was clearly unconstitutional, as it put restrictions on various kinds of speech, but not the kinds of speech that the state of California favors–like labor protests. We are delighted that our First Amendment rights were vindicated, and that we can continue to serve women, couples, and babies in need.”

The office of California Attorney General Rob Bonta did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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