National Institute of Family and Life Advocates v. Becerra

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Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Description:  California’s Reproductive FACT Act, AB 775, forced pro-life pregnancy care centers to provide free advertising for the abortion industry. The law required licensed medical centers that offer free, pro-life help to pregnant women to post a disclosure saying that California provides free or low-cost abortion and contraception services. The disclosure had to include a phone number for a county office that refers women to Planned Parenthood and other abortionists. The law also forced unlicensed pregnancy centers to add large disclosures about their non-medical status in all advertisements, even if they provide no medical services.


US Supreme Court: Govt can’t force Americans to express messages they disagree with

High court issues pivotal free speech ruling in NIFLA v. Becerra
Tuesday, June 26, 2018

 
WASHINGTON – In a pivotal free speech decision issued Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against government-compelled speech in National Institute of Family and Life Advocates v. Becerra. The ruling strikes down a California law that forced pro-life pregnancy centers to provide free advertising for the abortion industry and affirmed that the government can’t force Americans to express messages with which they disagree.

Audio of Tuesday’s media briefing featuring ADF Senior Vice President of U.S. Legal Division Kristen Waggoner, NIFLA President Thomas Glessner, and NIFLA Vice President of Legal Affairs Anne O’Connor is available here.
 
“No one should be forced by the government to express a message that violates their convictions, especially on deeply divisive subjects such as abortion,” said ADF President, CEO, and General Counsel Michael Farris, who argued on behalf of NIFLA before the Supreme Court in March. “In this case, the government used its power to force pro-life pregnancy centers to provide free advertising for abortion. The Supreme Court said that the government can’t do that, and that it must respect pro-life beliefs.”

“Tolerance and respect for good-faith differences of opinion are essential in a diverse society like ours,” Farris added. “They enable us to coexist peacefully with one another. If we want to have freedom for ourselves, we have to extend it to others.”

On behalf of the majority, Justice Clarence Thomas wrote that “the people lose when the government is the one deciding which ideas should prevail…. This Court’s precedents are deeply skeptical of laws that ‘distinguis[h] among different speakers, allowing speech by some but not others.’”

“The right of free speech protected in the First Amendment not only includes the right to speak, but also the right to not be compelled by government to speak a message with which one disagrees and which violates one’s conscience,” said Glessner. “The court correctly found that the California law clearly offends this principle. We are very pleased with the court’s decision and for what it means for the many pro-life centers that serve and empower women in California and throughout the country.”

The California law, AB 775, required licensed medical centers that offer free, pro-life help to pregnant women to post or distribute a disclosure saying that California provides free or low-cost abortion and contraception services. The disclosure was also required to include a phone number for a county office that refers women to Planned Parenthood and others in the abortion industry. Additionally, the law forced unlicensed pregnancy centers to add large disclosures in multiple languages about their non-medical status in advertisements, which obscured and crowded out their pro-life speech. Failure to comply carried civil fines up to $1,000 per violation.

O’Connor, ADF-allied attorney John Eastman of the Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence at Chapman University’s Fowler School of Law, and Dean R. Broyles of The National Center for Law and Policy are co-counsel in the lawsuit on behalf of NIFLA and the two pregnancy centers.

Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization that advocates for the right of people to freely live out their faith.
 
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Additional resources: National Institute of Family and Life Advocates v. Becerra

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Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Previous news releases:

  • 2018-06-26: US Supreme Court: Govt can’t force people to express messages they disagree with
  • 2018-03-20: Michael Farris’s remarks following Supreme Court oral arguments in NIFLA v. Becerra
  • 2018-03-19: ADF to take stand for free speech at US Supreme Court Tuesday
  • 2018-03-14: House honors selfless work of pregnancy centers for women, their babies
  • 2018-03-14: ADF responds to California: Govt shouldn’t force pro-life centers to advertise for abortion
  • 2018-03-12: California, coerced speech, and the Court: A panel discussion on NIFLA v. Becerra
  • 2018-02-21: California AG defends forcing pro-life centers to advertise for abortion
  • 2018-01-17: Broad support against forcing pro-life centers to advertise for abortion
  • 2018-01-08: Pro-life centers to Supreme Court: Don’t allow govt to force us to advertise for abortion
  • 2017-11-13: US Supreme Court agrees to weigh in on California law that forces pro-life centers to promote abortion
  • 2017-03-20: ADF asks US Supreme Court to halt California law forcing pro-life centers to promote abortion
  • 2016-10-28: ADF asks 9th Circuit to preserve freedom for pro-life pregnancy centers
  • 2016-10-14: 9th Circuit upholds California law forcing pro-life centers to promote abortion
  • 2016-06-13: ADF to 9th Circuit: Halt California law forcing pro-life centers to promote abortion
  • 2015-10-13: Calif. law forces pro-life centers to promote abortion, ADF files suit

Commentary:

  • Denise Harle: NIFLA decision affirms First Amendment’s purpose: Protect minority viewpoints (JURIST, 2018-07-15)
  • Jay Hobbs: SCOTUS NIFLA decision gives women the help they need and the hope they deserve (CNS News, 2018-07-02)
  • Jessica Prol Smith: Why all Americans can celebrate the Supreme Court ruling on forced abortion advertising (The Federalist, 2018-06-28)
  • Kevin Theriot: Supreme Court: People lose when the government decides which ideas prevail (National Review, 2018-06-27)
  • Elissa Graves: Supreme Court’s NIFLA decision: Our government can’t force you to share a message you don’t agree with (Fox News, 2018-06-27)
  • Michael Farris: We should all celebrate the Supreme Court ruling on compelled speech, regardless of our views on abortion (Los Angeles Times, 2018-06-27)
  • Denise Burke: Supreme Court ruling means it’s still legal to be pro-life and help expectant mothers (Washington Examiner, 2018-06-26)
  • Jay Hobbs: Think the Supreme Court is done with free speech post-Masterpiece? Think again. (Daily Wire, 2018-06-21)
  • Denise Harle: Government should not force private pregnancy centers to be at odds with their mission (San Diego Union-Tribune, 2018-04-12)
  • Jim Campbell: Justice Kennedy’s views on pro-life speech tested this term (National Review, 2018-03-23)
  • Kristen Waggoner: Thwarting pro-life pregnancy centers (Washington Times, 2018-03-20)
  • James Gottry: Supreme Court must act to protect free speech on subject of abortion (The Hill, 2018-03-20)
  • Michael Farris: Pro-life pregnancy centers shouldn't be forced to promote abortion (Kentucky Today, 2018-03-20)
  • Maggie Amos: Pregnancy centers shouldn’t have to advertise for abortions. I’m glad mine didn’t. (USA Today, 2018-03-20)
  • Thomas Glessner: Pro-life pregnancy centers should not have to advertise abortion (National Review, 2018-03-20)
  • Michael Farris: Supreme Court should not allow California to force pro-life pregnancy centers to promote abortion (Fox News, 2018-03-20)
  • James Gottry: Pro-life centers have speech, too (Wall Street Journal, 2018-03-19)
  • Elissa Graves: Supreme Court should uphold free speech of pro-life pregnancy centers (Sacramento Bee, 2018-03-13)
  • Sarah Kramer: Should this pregnancy clinic be forced to advertise abortion? (Christian Post, 2018-02-22)
  • Anne O’Connor: The greedy abortion industry vilifies pro-life centers (The Hill, 2018-02-15)
  • Kevin Theriot: Upcoming Supreme Court case reveals California’s slapshot at pro-life speech rights (Washington Examiner, 2018-01-26)
  • James Gottry: What if March for Life participants were forced to advertise for Planned Parenthood? (The Hill, 2018-01-18)
  • James Gottry: Supreme Court to decide if FACT Act hacks away at First Amendment (National Review, 2017-11-16)
  • Kevin Theriot: Supreme Court should strike down California’s forced-advertising law (National Review, 2017-04-03)

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