In a monumental decision for religious freedom and free speech, the Supreme Court in favor of pro-life groups that counsel pregnant women to make choices other than abortion. This ruling invalidated a California law that required pro-life centers, such as pregnancy medical clinics, to prominently post information on how to obtain a state-funded abortion.
In a 5-4 ruling, the court ruled the state law was a violation of the Constitution. The decision will have far-reaching effects casting doubt on the validity of similar laws in place in Hawaii and Illinois. The decision marks the first time the country’s highest court chose to hear an abortion-related case during the Trump administration.
Pro-life advocates, including The National Institute of Family and Life Advocates (NIFLA), praised the Supreme Court for their decision in NIFLA vs. Becerra in what it considers a “critical free speech case.”
NIFLA founder and president Thomas Glessner, J.D, in a statement – “California’s threat to pro-life pregnancy care centers and medical clinics counts among the most flagrant violations of constitutional religious and free speech rights in the nation. The implications of the Supreme Court’s decision, in this case, will reverberate nationwide, to similar unconstitutional laws in Illinois and Hawaii.”
The California law from 2015 dubbed the “Reproductive FACT Act” (AB 775) previously required all pro-life pregnancy centers to post signage notifying their patients where and how they can receive state taxpayer-funded abortions. The law applied to hundreds of privately funded pregnancy centers. California has a significant bias in maximizing abortions in their state and it shows. Many California lawmakers receive campaign donations directly from Planned Parenthood. Lawmakers such as Attorney General Xavier Becerra and Senator Kamala Harris are among the recipients.
Abortion is not the only option and should never be promoted as such. Adoption is also an option, as is education and job training options for young mothers. Many consider this a major blow to the eugenics agenda against the evil of Planned Parenthood and their life stealing agenda. Pro-life groups across the country praised the Supreme Court’s decision to affirm life, free speech, and religious freedom today.
Pro-life centers petitioned the Supreme Court to hear their case after the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against them last year. The court sided with the state in a 3-0 ruling, saying that the state was acting within its power of regulating medical providers. The appeals court also ruled similarly stating that abortion advertisements in pro-life centers did not violate free speech rights because such signage stated facts without encouraging women to actually seek an abortion. However, after hearing the case the Supreme Court did not agree.
The Pacific Justice Institute filed a request for the Supreme Court to review the law. They argued that the state had effectively stripped pro-life centers and the people who run them of their right to free speech, much like Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission which was also recently ruled on by the Supreme Court. Alliance Defending Freedom petitioned the Supreme Court to halt the law, arguing that it forced the pro-life centers to act contrary to their core mission and violated their constitutionally protected freedoms.
Alliance Defending Freedom’s Senior Counsel Kevin Theriot welcomed the Supreme Court’s decision. Theriot said in a statement –
“Forcing anyone to provide free advertising for the abortion industry is unthinkable—especially when it’s the government doing the forcing. This is even more true when it comes to pregnancy care centers, which exist specifically to care for women who want to have their babies.
The state should protect freedom of speech and freedom from coerced speech. Information about abortion is just about everywhere, so the government doesn’t need to punish pro-life centers for declining to advertise for the very act they can’t promote.”
Ashley McGuire, Senior Fellow with The Catholic Association, said that she hopes this Supreme Court decision will “put an end to these unwarranted free speech assaults so that the centers and their staff can go on helping women without harassment from the abortion industry.
Recent efforts to force America’s pregnancy centers to advertise for abortion isn’t just an attack on free speech, it’s an attack on the vulnerable women who find help and healing in them. These centers offer pregnant women in crisis a true choice in addition to dignified care and do so with no profit motive and no political agenda, unlike their abortion clinic alternatives.”
Jeanne Mancini, President of March for Life, also praised the decision.
“These benevolent centers, which exist solely to provide love and support for women facing unexpected pregnancies and have no financial interest at stake, should not be forced to violate their first amendment right to freedom of speech and conscience. March for Life will showcase the heroic work of the pregnancy care movement at the 2018 March for Life with the theme ‘Love Saves Lives,’” she said.
Catherine Glenn Foste of Americans United for Life said she was “pleased” to hear the decision, stating – “Pregnancy Care Centers provide holistic care, resources, and hope for vulnerable women who are facing unplanned pregnancies, and they should not be compelled to promote the abortion industry’s agenda by posting signs that violate their mission and core values.”
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