Huge Win For Life, Pregnancy Centers, and Free SpeechJun 27, 2018
Yesterday, we received great news! The Supreme Court of the United States ruled in favor of the Pro-Life Pregnancy Centers and Free Speech in the case NIFLA v. Becerra.
In a huge win for pro-life pregnancy centers and free speech, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a California state law that would have forced pro-life pregnancy centers to advertise for abortion services and to express a message that conflicts with their fundamental beliefs. For medically licensed pregnancy centers, the law required them to post or distribute a statement pointing the way to abortion. For unlicensed pregnancy resource centers, the law required them to post signs and state in all their digital or print advertising they are not medically licensed clinics – squelching their ability to get their own message out.
It is refreshing to hear the U.S. Supreme Court affirm the rights of conscience and free speech for pro-life pregnancy resource centers over the government’s unconstitutional law targeting these centers in order to compel them to advertise for the abortion industry.
Justice Kennedy used incredibly strong language in condemning the California law in his concurrence:
“The California Legislature included in its official history the congratulatory statement that the Act was part of California’s legacy of ‘forward thinking.’ But it is not forward thinking to force individuals to ‘be an instrument for fostering public adherence to an ideological point of view [they] fin[d] unacceptable.’ It is forward thinking to begin by reading the First Amendment as ratified in 1791; to understand the history of authoritarian government as the Founders then knew it; to confirm that history since then shows how relentless authoritarian regimes are in their attempts to stifle free speech; and to carry those lessons onward as we seek to preserve and teach the necessity of freedom of speech for the generations to come. Governments must not be allowed to force persons to express a message contrary to their deepest convictions. Freedom of speech secures freedom of thought and belief. This law imperils those liberties.”
Given the way the abortion industry appears to be directing Virginia's top officials, we hope Governor Northam and Attorney General Herring are paying attention. Long before he became Governor, then-Senator Northam tried to compel Virginian pro-life pregnancy centers to speak in similar ways to what California has tried. The Family Foundation defeated that effort with your help.
I am pleased that the Supreme Court has stood up for free speech, and our team at The Family Foundation will use these same arguments to protect Virginians from future unconstitutional speech codes that imperil our liberties.