US SUPREME COURT — A recent California law has forced pro-life crisis pregnancy centers to notify women visitors that the state offers subsidies for abortion.
Now the US Supreme Court has decided to weigh in on that law. The pregnancy centers maintain it violates their constitutional rights, forcing them to do free advertising for the abortion industry.
The National Institute of Family and Life Advocates (NIFLA) objects to the state's action and sued the state.
Alliance Defending Freedom represents NIFLA in the case and hosted a Live Facebook with Kevin Theroit, its lead attorney in the case.
"Unfortunately California has a long history of discriminating against pro-lifers and attempting to get them to endorse abortion and restrict their ability to protect women and give them the truth about what abortion does," Theroit said.
"Forcing anyone to provide free advertising for the abortion industry is unthinkable — especially when it's the government doing the forcing," he said. "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 Catholic Association's Senior Fellow Ashley McGuire said, "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."
"We hope the Supreme Court can 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," she said.
"The state should protect freedom of speech and freedom from coerced speech," ADF's Theriot argued. "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."
ADF argued in its request to the US Supreme Court that California enacted this law — the Reproductive FACT Act — for the express purpose of targeting pro-life crisis pregnancy centers because they discourage abortions.
And Theroit says the case represents a huge risk for other pregnancy centers around the country as threats spread beyond California.
"Not only is California attempting to force these pregnancy centers to violate their conscience but Hawaii, Illinois, other states, recently a county around Seattle in Washington, enacted a similar law. So you have cities and counties around the country watching to see if courts will uphold this type of forced speech violation of freedom that our nation from the beginning was intent on protecting," he explained.