What the Supreme Court´s ´Citizens United´ decision means for Life

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The Supreme Court released a landmark decision on campaign financing earlier in the year. The case, [I]Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission[/I], overturned a key provision in the McCain-Feingold Act that banned corporations and unions from paying for political ads before elections. This decision follows on the heels of a 2007 Court decision in FEC vs. Wisconsin Right to Life to allow corporations to air advertisements before elections as long as the advertisements do not expressly advocate for or against a candidate. Both decisions are important to Texas Right to Life and the Pro-Life movement as a whole. 

Texas Right to Life, as you know, is made up of several separate entities: Texas Right to Life Committee, Texas Right to Life Educational Fund, and the Texas Right to Life Political Action Committee. The PAC was specifically formed for the purpose of electing Pro-Life candidates, but as it only operates every two years, the PAC has much more limited resources than the Committee, which handles legislative work in both Austin and Washington D.C.

Before 2007, if Texas Right to Life wanted to publicly lobby a member of Congress to vote for or against a bill, the PAC with its limited resources was the only option available even though Texas Right to Life was not working with any political parties or candidates on the ads. In Wisconsin Right to Life, the Supreme Court ruled that freedom of speech and the freedom to petition the government cannot be abridged merely because an election is less than thirty days away. 

The more recent [I]Citizens United[/I] case handled the larger issue of whether or not organizations such as the Texas Right to Life Committee could be banned from sharing their opinion on an election. The FEC's attorneys in the case went so far as to argue that the government could ban books if the books were published by a corporation or a union. On the other hand, Citizens United's attorneys argued that the first amendment guarantees freedom of speech to not just individuals but groups of individuals. 

In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court decided in favor of Citizens United. While Texas Right to Life's campaign expenditures will still primarily be through the PAC, the decision allows Texas Right to Life and similar groups to speak out more in favor of candidates who share our views regarding the Right to Life. 

These particular Supreme Court decisions only apply to federal elections. Texas' ban on corporate electioneering is still in effect as of now. Also, while corporations and unions can spend money on electioneering, they are not allowed to coordinate on the activities with campaigns or parties.

These particular Supreme Court decisions only apply to federal elections. Texas' ban on corporate electioneering is still in effect as of now. Also, while corporations and unions can spend money on electioneering, they are not allowed to coordinate on the activities with campaigns or parties.

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