Next Tuesday, March 20, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments about a California law that compels pro-life pregnancy care centers to promote abortion. NRB member Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) is representing the National Institute of Family and Life Advocates (NIFLA) in its challenge to California’s Reproductive FACT Act. That law, enacted in 2015, would require pro-life pregnancy care centers to post notices that the state provides free or low-cost abortion and contraception services.
In a recent blog post published by ADF, Anne O’Connor, NIFLA’s Vice President of Legal Affairs, said, “This case is really not about abortion, although that’s the message the government is targeting. It is fundamentally a pure free speech, First Amendment case.”
While California Attorney General Xavier Becerra has argued that the required statements his state has imposed are “carefully neutral” and “non-ideological,” ADF president Michael Farris disagrees. Farris, who will argue the case next week, said:
Americans shouldn’t be forced by the government to promote messages that conflict with their beliefs. Yet, the attorney general of California claims that pro-life pregnancy centers must provide free advertising for abortion because women may not know how to find an abortion facility. We strongly disagree: information about abortion is widely available. Under the Constitution, California is required to respect the free speech rights of all of its citizens – not just those in the abortion industry.
In her blog post, O’Connor noted that the City of Los Angeles was already attempting to shut down pregnancy care centers for standing up against this unjust law. She warned that if such pro-life support centers were forced to comply, other conservative and religious groups would be similarly targeted.
“You see, it’s not just about handing out a piece of paper or posting it on our walls,” she said. “[I]t’s about the right of American citizens under the U.S. Constitution to be free from being compelled by the government to promote a message that is antithetical to their beliefs.”
By Aaron Mercer, Vice President of Government Relations
Published: March 16, 2018