The topic of discussion for this Freedom Friday concerns Freedom of Speech. In particular, it is to discuss whether or not a state can force crisis pregnancy centers to advertise the state’s free abortion program. This is exactly what California is trying to do, and the centers fought back in National Institute of Family and Life Advocates v. Becerra. The state is demanding that the pregnancy centers advertise for free abortion AND to include a long disclaimer in up to 13 languages. The case went to the U.S. Supreme Court for resolution.
The Supreme Court heard arguments in the case on Tuesday, March 20, 2018. Elizabeth Slattery at The Daily Signal reports that three attorneys appeared before the Justices, one representing the pregnancy centers, one representing the State of California, and one representing the Federal Government but supporting neither side. She writes that the “justices peppered all three advocates with questions.” She shares what she calls “seven key exchanges” that took place in the court room. She closes with these paragraphs.
After an hour of argument, some justices appeared to be concerned about the burden the California law places on free speech, and the fact that it clearly targets pro-life pregnancy centers. Even liberal justices seemed troubled by the arduous requirements of this law.
Now the justices will consider how to rule, and issue an opinion by the end of June. Hopefully, the court will rule in favor of the challengers and recognize that states may not impose their views on highly controversial political issues, such as abortion, on private entities.
It is anyone’s guess as to how the justices will rule on this case. It seems to me that California has a lot of gumption. Why should centers that are in the business to help pregnant mothers have healthy babies be forced to advertise the killing of babies? It does not make sense, but most of the news out of California these days does not make sense. Hopefully, the justices will in favor of the pregnancy centers.