How would you feel if state law required you to tell pregnant women where they could get information about having an abortion? And that the reason you were required to do so is because you are pro-life. And that if you didn’t do it, you would have to pay the government a fine of $500—and $1000 more for each violation?
Welcome to the sad reality faced by dozens of pro-life pregnancy centers in California.
Courtesy of an outrageous California law, pro-life pregnancy centers in the state are being forced to advertise for the abortion industry by displaying a message informing women how to obtain a free or low-cost abortion from the state — including a phone number to call.
Simply put—California’s extreme pro-abortion bias is showing—and it isn’t pretty or constitutional.
Thankfully, now the United States Supreme Court is getting involved.
Today, the Court announced that it would hear our case, National Institute of Family and Life Advocates v. Becerra. ADF represents a pro-life pregnancy care center network and two pregnancy care centers in California that object to promoting abortion and advertising against their core mission—a clear violation of their constitutionally protected freedoms.
“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,” said Kevin Theriot, Senior Counsel and Vice President of the Center for Life with ADF. “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 abortion lobby in California likes to pretend that abortion on demand is a non-contentious and widely accepted practice. But that is not the case.
A 2017 Marist poll shows that nearly three in four Americans, including a majority of those who identify as pro-choice, want significant restrictions on abortion.
Millions of Americans do not accept or endorse California’s view of abortion. And they shouldn’t accept the state’s blatant ignorance of constitutionally protected free speech either. In fact, ADF has recently been involved in cases where laws that are similar to California’s have been struck down or partially invalidated in Texas, Maryland, and New York City, and we are fighting one in Illinois as well.
The government simply has no business attempting to control the ideology of its citizens through the coercion of private businesses. Pro-life pregnancy centers exist to offer help and hope to pregnant women in need. And in a free society, they must retain the freedom to operate according to their mission without fear of government punishment.
The Supreme Court should strike down California’s terrible law and ensure that in America, the government is never allowed to force anyone to promote abortion or anything else that violates their conscience.
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