The Supreme Court will be taking up a case from California in their next session. The case involves an appeal from the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit over California’s law requiring all abortion and pregnancy centers to inform their clients about state-sponsored abortion, even if that organization maintains moral objections to abortion.
It’s a truly reprehensible law, the idea that crisis pregnancy centers can be forced into advocating for abortion even though these centers are set up specifically for the purpose of avoiding abortions. CPC’s provide a more holistic approach to pregnant women’s health than places like Planned Parenthood, where killing children for profit is the standard operating procedure.
The California law, which was passed two years ago according to the Los Angeles Times, requires that CPC’s inform their clients that the state will subsidize abortions and contraception.
However, that message conflicts with the convictions of many CPC’s who hope to promote birth over abortion. The plaintiffs in this case claim that the law violates their free speech rights.
The National Institute of Family and Life Advocates, which says it represents 110 centers, sued to block the law, calling it “compelled speech” that violates the 1st Amendment. Two other clinics sued as well but the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the law last year. In a 3-0 ruling, it said the state had broad power to regulate medical providers to protect patients. And it said the disclosures did not violate the 1st Amendment because they stated facts and did not “encourage” women to seek an abortion.
The justices are to hear arguments in NIFLA vs. Becerra early next year and issue a ruling by late June.
It will be the second major case this term which arises from a conservative, free-speech challenge to a liberal state law. On Dec. 5, the justices will hear the case of the Colorado baker who refuses to make a wedding cake for a same-sex marriage and was charged with violating the state’s civil rights law. Lawyers for the Arizona-based Alliance Defending Freedom appealed both cases to the Supreme Court.
Normally, this should not be a question in a rational world. Just imagine if the scenario were a bit different, where feminist organizations advocating for women’s rights were required by law to inform their members that they have the right to bear arms.
No matter what that organization believed, that law would require them to say “just so you know, the Second Amendment of the Constitution guarantees that you have the right to bear arms.” Of course, all in the name of women’s rights! If such a proposal were ever made, every single one of these groups would be screeching so loud glass would be shattering across the country.
But somehow, because this is a case about abortion, murdering children, forcing people to say that blatantly violates those sincerely held beliefs is just a-okay. In what world is that rational?
Consider this: the Supreme Court has already held that citizens cannot be compelled to speak if they wish to remain silent. In Woolley vs Maynard (1977), the Court addressed the question of whether or not New Hampshire’s license plate which has the words “Live Free or Die” on the plate forces a person to speak an ideological message. According to Oyez, the Court set the rule that the government cannot enforce compelled ideological speech.
In a 6-to-3 decision, the Court held that New Hampshire could not constitutionally require citizens to display the state motto upon their vehicle license plates. The Court found that the statute in question effectively required individuals to “use their private property as a ‘mobile billboard’ for the State’s ideological message.” The Court held that the State’s interests in requiring the motto did not outweigh free speech principles under the First Amendment, including “the right of individuals to hold a point of view different from the majority and to refuse to foster. . .an idea they find morally objectionable.”
For the plaintiffs in this abortion case, the CPC’s are being forced to bring forth an ideological message: that the State subsidizes abortions, something that these centers vehemently oppose with the most wholehearted conviction. In no free country can people be forced to convey a message which they do not believe, end of story.