US Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Pro-life Centers Free Speech Case

Supreme Court takes up First Amendment challenge to California abortion law	 	 	 			U.S. Supreme Court on Monday

The Supreme Court's review will focus on 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 anti-abortion challengers argue that the law, by forcing them to post the information, violates their free speech rights under the U.S. Constitution's First Amendment.

Today, Kevin Theriot, a senior counsel at Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) said, "It's unthinkable for the government to force anyone to provide free advertising for the abortion industry".

Under the pretext of helping and advising women who did not want to become pregnant, these centers try instead to convince them at all cost not to abort.

The petitioners say they are "life-affirming pregnancy centers" that offer a variety of medical and counseling services for pregnant women to consider options to abortion.

Theriot added, "The state shouldn't have the power to punish anyone for being pro-life".

In a statement, Becerra said "all women should have access to the information they need when making personal healthcare decisions".

The court agreed to hear three consolidated challenges to California's Reproductive Fact Act' that was passed in October of 2015.

If the court strikes down California's law on free speech grounds, it could make it harder for Democratic-leaning states to regulate anti-abortion pregnancy centers. He emphasized that "information is power". "The California Department of Justice will do everything necessary to protect women's healthcare rights".

The San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals previous year upheld the law.

The court has taken a series of cases involving free speech arguments to which its conservative majority is often receptive.

According to the State of California, more than half of pregnancies in the state are unintended.

The California law generated lawsuits nearly immediately, with several pregnancy centers suing the state and asking for the law to be struck down, as NPR's Kelly McEvers reported in the fall of 2015. Implementing the law is the most effective way for them to obtain the information and services they need.

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