Earlier this month, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) agreed to hear the challenge to an anti-Life California law. Several Pro-Life pregnancy centers in California challenged the law that requires them to tell women facing unexpected pregnancies where to get information about abortion. The law goes so far as to require Pro-Life pregnancy centers to promote abortion by posting a message from the abortion industry about how to get a free or low-cost elective abortion paid for by taxpayers.
In court documents, the Pro-Life pregnancy centers argue:
The State, rather than using countless alternative ways to communicate its message, including its own powerful voice, instead compels only licensed facilities that help women consider alternatives to abortion to express the government’s message regarding how to obtain abortions paid for by the State.
The Pro-Life groups argue such coercion is a violation of their free speech rights and, in some cases, religious freedom, as several of the pregnancy centers are religiously affiliated. As one Pro-Life opponent of the law explained, the legislation turns every Pro-Life pregnancy resource center in California into “a state-mandated abortion referral service.” Even if a woman came to the pregnancy center specifically for assistance in choosing Life, pregnancy center staff would be required by law to provide that mother with information about how to kill her preborn child.
The law gained traction from anti-Life groups’ claims that Pro-Life pregnancy centers used deceptive advertising and sought to mislead and “intimidate” women. Such claims are volleyed against Pro-Life pregnancy centers, which are often privately-funded organizations that exist to give women facing unexpected pregnancies the assistance needed to choose Life. The fact that the abortion industry and anti-Life politicians try so hard to thwart the efforts of life-affirming pregnancy centers shows how committed they are to abortion.
Kevin Theriot of Alliance Defending Freedom, the group representing the Pro-Life pregnancy centers, said:
It’s unthinkable for the government to force anyone to provide free advertising for the abortion industry. This is especially true of pregnancy care centers, which exist to care for women who want to have their babies. The state shouldn’t have the power to punish anyone for being pro-life. Instead, it should protect freedom of speech and freedom from coerced speech.
The ongoing case highlights the strength of the growing Culture of Life in Texas and the alarming reality of states like California that are under anti-Life sway. Although abortion groups attempt to attack life-affirming pregnancy centers in Texas, legislators remain committed to supporting pregnancy centers and expanding the life-affirming resources they are able to offer. While Texas has successfully chipped away at the many insidious avenues of state dollars going to the abortion industry, California proudly sends taxpayer dollars directly to the abortion industry earmarked for the killing of the preborn. The current case of Pro-Life pregnancy centers against the biased and coercive anti-Life regime in California is an important step toward re-establishing the First Amendment rights of Pro-Lifers across the nation.
SCOTUS will hear the case early next year, but a ruling might not come until June 2018. The case, which will have repercussions in Texas and nationwide, may be instrumental in setting important precedent against the numerous attacks on Pro-Life organizations and life-affirming pregnancy centers around the country.