California abortion law lands at the Supreme Court

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- The divisive issue of abortion was front and center at the U.S. Supreme Court Monday with a California law being questioned. In fact, a San Francisco lawmaker authored the controversial measure.

The Justices are reviewing a 2015 law authored by San Francisco Assemblyman David Chiu. It targets so-called crisis pregnancy centers.

Chiu says the facilities portray themselves as offering pregnant women a range of options, when they are actually anti-abortion.

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He believes the Alpha Pregnancy Center on Mission Street in San Francisco is one such center.

His law requires the clinics make it clear what medical services, if any, they provide.

Chiu says, "These centers are run by extremists who are trying to ensure that women are misinformed, misled and deceived about what the reproductive health options they have in the state of California."

But anti-abortion activists say the law forces them to deliver a message they disagree with.

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Attorney Michael Farris argued their case before the court Monday, saying, "When the government decides what people should and should not say, other freedoms are sure to disappear soon after."

Courtroom observers describe the oral arguments as lively. Justice Anthony Kennedy, often the swing vote, seemed to side with the clinics, saying one of California's notification requirements seemed like "an undue burden."

Liberal justices also questioned the law. Sonia Sotomayer called one provision "burdensome and wrong."

The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the California law. The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to announce a ruling in June.

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