Supreme Court to hear free speech challenge to abortion disclosure law

The Supreme Court will weigh the issue of free speech in regard to a California law which requires pregnancy centers to provide abortion and birth control information. File Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI

Nov. 13 (UPI) — The Supreme Court will decide whether a California law which requires pregnancy centers to post information about publicly funded abortions violates free-speech.

The law — which requires religious non-profits to post notices about abortion and birth control — has been heavily criticized by the National Institute of Family and Life Advocates, who claim the law directly contradicts their anti-abortion message and violates their First Amendment rights.

“This compelled speech requirement drowns out the centers’ pro-life messages and discourages them from speaking through advertisements because California’s voluminous required statements make ads cost prohibitive,” The National Institute of Family and Life Advocates said in their petition.

The California’s Reproductive FACT act also requires non-medical, unlicensed pregnancy centers to clearly state in advertising they are not licensed, medical providers.

California argued the law is the most effective way to ensure that women receive the information and services they need about abortion and birth control, noting that 700,000 pregnancies each year are unintended.

“The notice that licensed facilities must give under the [law] falls well within the First Amendment’s tolerance for the regulation of the practice-related speech of licensed professionals,” California said.

Last year, the Supreme Court ruled to strike down a Texas law that critics argued restricted women’s access to abortion clinics.

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