Thursday, 23 November, 2017

Justices Take Cases on Free Speech at Pregnancy Centers and Polling Places

Supreme Court takes up First Amendment challenge to California abortion law	 	 	 			U.S. Supreme Court on Monday Supreme Court takes up First Amendment challenge to California abortion law U.S. Supreme Court on Monday
Preston Stone | 14 November, 2017, 03:55

A 2010 Austin, Texas, law requiring centers to display that they do not provide abortions, as well as a subsequent 2012 law requiring them to display that they do not offer medical care, were thrown out by a district judge.

On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court announced it would take up the abortion case National Institute of Family and Life Advocates (NIFLA) v. Xavier Becerra. Care Net's brief said the FACT Act targeted pregnancy crisis centers, given the state's lack of regulations on abortion; California is one of about a dozen states that don't require parental consent for a minor to get an abortion, for example.

The Arizona-based Alliance Defending Freedom is before the high court in another high profile First Amendment case challenging compelled speech this term: Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, brought by a Colorado baker who argues that the state can not, under anti-discrimination laws, compel him to create a wedding cake for same-sex couples.

The Court agreed to review the NIFLA case on the limited question of "whether the disclosures required by the California Reproductive FACT Act violate the protections set forth in the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment, applicable to the States through the Fourteenth Amendment".

The crisis pregnancy centers counsel women not to have abortions.

The facilities had asked the high court to hear their appeal of a ruling a year ago by the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upholding the law. For non-licensed medical facilities, an additional notice is required stating that the center "has no licensed medical provider who provides or directly supervises the provision of services".

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The free-speech issue has arisen in different contexts around the country. Lawyers for the centers say that their clients, out of religious objections, do not refer patients for abortion and that they can not be compelled to post the notification.

The Supreme Court found that women have a constitutional right to an abortion in the landmark 1973 case Roe v. Wade.

The abortion-rights group NARAL Pro-Choice California was a prime sponsor of the California law.

A 2015 Democrat-backed law says these private organizations must clearly inform their clients if they are able to practice medicine and whether health care professionals are on hand. Christian pregnancy centers that employ doctors have filed lawsuits against the state over the new law.

Liberty Counsel challenged the law in federal court on behalf of the three pro-life pregnancy centers on the grounds that the law violates the United States Constitution's guarantees of freedom of speech and free exercise of religion in the First Amendment.

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