A Twin Win for Life and Liberty
In our ongoing fight for life and liberty, we thank God for the twin win at the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on June 26. The right to free speech, explicitly protected by the First Amendment, was affirmed for California crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs). And by extension, their efforts to protect and care for the most vulnerable among us were affirmed by the 5-4 decision.
The majority opinion in NIFLA v. Becerra, authored by Justice Clarence Thomas, struck down the deceptively named “California Reproductive Freedom, Accountability, Comprehensive Care, and Transparency Act (FACT Act)” that forced pro-life pregnancy centers to promote abortion options and obscure their message.
The act also specifically discriminated against unlicensed “facilities that primarily provide ‘pregnancy-related’ services.” It required them to add a burdensome notice, even to all “print and digital advertising” materials.
Justice Thomas made the point that the twenty-nine-word notice would “drown out” any other communication it was attached to. A two-word billboard that simply said “Choose Life” would be required to be surrounded by the government-drafted statement “[t]his facility is not licensed as a medical facility by the State of California and has no licensed medical provider who provides or directly supervises the provision of services” in as many as thirteen languages. The notice also had to be in a contrasting type, color, or larger text to call attention to it.
The court slammed this uneven treatment against pregnancy centers. Justice Thomas noted, “A facility that advertises and provides pregnancy tests is covered by the unlicensed notice, but a facility across the street that advertises and provides nonprescription contraceptives is excluded—even though the latter is no less likely to make women think it is licensed. This Court’s precedents are deeply skeptical of laws that ‘distinguis[h] among different speakers, allowing speech by some but not others.’ Citizens United v. Federal Election Comm’n, 558 U. S. 310, 340 (2010). Speaker-based laws run the risk that ‘the State has left unburdened those speakers whose messages are in accord with its own views.’ Sorrell, 564 U. S., at 580.”
At the National Center for Life and Liberty, we fight daily for your constitutional rights, especially the most fundamental right to live. As Attorney David C. Gibbs III notes, “We’re grateful a majority of the Supreme Court found this odious law to be unconstitutional.” With attacks from every side, we’re grateful to be a part of a larger Christian legal community and commend the lawyers who spearheaded this case. As the NCLL continues fighting for freedom at the local, state, and national levels, we actively equip the local church to share the Gospel with minimal legal risks or distractions.