Supreme Court questions crisis pregnancy center law

AP License N  A Created 2018:03:14 23:46:35

ADF: We are fighting government-required speech

National Institute of Family and Life Advocates (NIFLA) v. Becerra is about two controversial ideas: abortion and free speech.

The law forces centers that want "to help women choose life point the way to an abortion", said Kristen Waggoner, senior vice president of the USA legal division for Alliance Defending Freedom, to NPR.

Though the NIFLA network had petitioned the Supreme Court under both the freedom of religion and freedom of speech clauses of the First Amendment, when the court chose to take on the case back in November, it granted only the free speech challenge.

If crisis pregnancy centers win on free speech grounds, the ruling could also be used to eliminate anti-abortion laws.

Lauren said she left the clinic confused and eventually received an abortion, according to the Associated Press.

Denise Harle, a lawyer with the conservative religious freedom group Alliance Defending Freedom, which is representing NIFLA, said at the panel that there is "no evidence that even a single woman has ever been deceived by any of these pregnancy centers".

Justices Leaning Against California Law? "Such a turn, said Nancy Northup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights, 'would be ironic'".

Low-income women in particular are the most common visitors to nonprofit facilities like the ones challenging the law, but the state's publicity campaigns often miss this audience. Justice Elena Kagan asked if it might have been rigged in a way that would have targeted pro-life groups.

"If it has been gerrymandered, that's a serious issue", Kagan said.

We'll be watching this case. They want to say, constitutionally, 'We're just another wing of a political movement. Should NIFLA lose the case, Glessner warned, pregnancy centers in California will close their doors.

US Retail Giants Write To Trump Seeking Relief On China Tariffs
The tariff package, which Trump plans to unveil by Friday, was confirmed by four senior administration officials. In some respects, taking on China in this way makes more sense than via steel and aluminum tariffs.

"We pray that the Court will do the right thing and uphold our fundamental right to free speech when it decides this case". But if a sonogram will save even one life, shouldnt we make them mandatory before abortions can be performed?

I have heard stories of women who have viewed sonograms of their babies deciding against abortion.

But Justice Samuel Alito noted the Supreme Court has never endorsed a free-speech carve-out for professional speech, and said such a standard could create messy legal questions about who qualifies as a professional.

'Reasonable licensing' or government interference?

The case being argued March 20, 2018, involves information required by a state law that the centers must provide clients about the availability of contraception, abortion and pre-natal care, at little or no cost.

Klein said this explains the exemptions to the disclosure requirements for private doctors and other facilities that typically do not offer free services. In fact, the state hasn't pointed to anywhere else in California law where it imposes such onerous requirements.

"If one decides this case based on the principle that the government can not compel someone to say something they are opposed to, then I think all of those laws are challengeable", said Wendy Mariner, a professor of health law at Boston University, to CALmatters. Recruited by third-year law student Steven Obiajulu, and ably coordinated by second-year student Grant Newman, they included fellow second-years Ryan Proctor and Asher Perez and a diverse group of others, including some first-year students who prefer to remain anonymous.

Each of these blue states, along with liberal-leaning municipalities across the country, has passed laws or ordinances that would force pro-life pregnancy centers to promote abortion and/or denigrate the help they offer to women. Violators are liable for a civil penalty of up to $500. U.S. Deputy Solicitor General Jeffrey Wall made a similar argument for the federal government, which supported neither side entirely in the case. Justice Anthony Kennedy, a conservative who sometimes joins his liberal colleagues in important cases, suggested that if the statute required unlicensed centers to add that disclosure to a billboard that simply stated "Choose Life" - a slogan for people who oppose abortion - it would violate the First Amendment.

Klein countered that the best way to reach pregnant women is at a point of service, and not through a generalized public education campaign.

Thus, a decision against the California law risks enshrining viewpoint discrimination into the First Amendment. Abortion is a matter of public concern, and the California law forces pro-life pregnancy centers to deliver the state's ideological message despite (in fact, because of) their profound disagreement with that message. The law is the fruit of a long pro-abortion smear campaign against crisis pregnancy centers, calling them "fake clinics". "In fact, the clinics don't make abortions and contraceptive coverage available". The Trump administration largely backed the clinics in the challenge. Other centers are unlicensed because they provide only nonmedical services (self-administered pregnancy testing kits, parenting preparation training, baby clothes, diapers, etc.).

Justices are expected to issue their ruling in the case by the end of June. Supporters of abortion access say that if the court strikes down the California law, there could be a silver lining to the loss. Justice Breyer strongly pushed the argument that what's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander-there should be a consistent rule about whether pro-life states can force pro-choice counselors to make disclosures about adoption and whether pro-choice states can force pro-life counselors to make disclosures about abortion.

Latest News