Pro-Life Centres Cannot be Forced to Promote Abortion - US Supreme Court
The US Supreme Court has struck down a state law requiring crisis pregnancy centres to supply women with information about abortion. The Court, in a 5-4 decision ruled that the law likely violates the First Amendment of the US Constitution which protects freedom of speech.
The case, National Institute of Family and Life Advocates v. Becerra, No. 16-1140, concerned a California law that requires pro-life pregnancy counselling centres to provide women with information about the availability of abortion. The centres seek to persuade women to choose parenting or adoption.
The state requires the centres to post notices that free or low-cost abortion, contraception and prenatal care are available to low-income women through public programmes, and to provide the phone number for more information.
The centres argued that the law violated their right to free speech by forcing them to convey messages at odds with their beliefs.
A unanimous three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in San Francisco, had previously upheld the law. But other federal appeals courts had struck down similar laws, saying that the government could find other ways to inform women about their options.
The New York Times. June 26.