November 14, 2017

Supreme Court agrees to hear pro-life challenge to compelled pro-abortion speech

Equal Justice Under Law
National Institute of Family and Life Advocates v. Becerra is a challenge to a 2015 California state law– the state’s so-called Reproductive FACT Act — that forces locally funded pro-life medical clinics to advertise taxpayer-funded abortions. The only known instances of the law’s enforcement have occurred in Los Angeles, “where city attorney Mike Feuer has leveraged an obscure law that mandates current signage for local business to force pregnancy medical clinics to comply,” according to Pregnancy Help News’s Jay Hobbs.

Savage describes the fight as “a clash between the state’s power to regulate the medical profession and the Constitution’s protection for the freedom of speech.” He wrote

California lawmakers passed the disclosure law two years ago after concluding the more 200 pregnancy centers in the state sometimes misled or confused women into believing they provided the full range of medical care, including abortions.

AB 775 requires licensed medical centers that offer free, pro-life help to pregnant women to post a disclosure saying that California provides free or low-cost abortion and contraception services. The disclosure must also include a phone number for a county office that refers women to Planned Parenthood and other abortionists. The law also forces unlicensed pregnancy centers to add large disclosures about their non-medical status in all advertisements, even if they provide no medical services.

Pro-abortionists are nothing if not persistent even though they lose and lose. As we have explained on many, many occasions, courts in Austin, Texas; Montgomery County, Maryland; Baltimore; and New York City have completely or mostly invalidated similar laws.

Pro-lifers succeeded most recently in Illinois. As Hobbs explained

In July a federal judge in Illinois handed down a major victory for religious conscience and free speech protection, granting a statewide preliminary injunction against a 2016 law change that would force pro-life medical providers to refer patients to abortion businesses upon request.

“It is clear that the amended act targets the free speech rights of people who have a specific viewpoint,” Judge Fredrick J. Kapala wrote in his order.

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