Published: Tue, November 14, 2017
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Supreme Court to hear crisis pregnancy centers' appeal

Supreme Court to hear crisis pregnancy centers' appeal

The U.S. Supreme Court agreed to review a case challenging the California Reproductive Freedom, Accountability, Comprehensive Care, and Transparency (FACT) Act.

The law also requires the centres to post on their premises notices that California offers free or heavily subsidized abortions and contraception. "Information about abortion is just about everywhere, so the government doesn't need to punish pro-life centers for declining to advertise for the very act they can't promote".

The NIFLA network represents 137 of California's roughly 200 pregnancy centers, and works to convert them into licensed medical clinics.

Additionally, the law requires unlicensed centers to expressly indicate they are not licensed as medical facilities in California.

The U.S Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld the law, noting that the Supreme Court in the 1992 Casey decision had upheld state requirements that physicians provide patients with state-compelled notices.

The California centers complained that both their speech and religious freedom rights are violated by the law.

The Christian and conservative groups behind this appeal contend that the law violates the constitutional right to freedom of expression. California's "ability to impress free citizens into state services in this political dispute can not be absolute; it must be limited". "Instead, it should protect freedom of speech and freedom from coerced speech". "This is especially true of pregnancy care centers, which exist to care for women who want to have their babies".

The law applies to facilities "whose primary goal is providing family planning or pregnancy-related services".

The other plaintiffs are two centers in San Diego County: Pregnancy Care Center and Fallbrook Pregnancy Resource Center.

He and others challenged the law on free speech grounds, saying that the government may not bar apparel that merely conveyed a philosophy rather than an endorsement of a particular candidate, party, or ballot measure. They are typically run by groups with strong anti-abortion views. "Pregnancy care centers, which provide their care for free, were established specifically to help women understand that they have the choice of life for their children, and that they will be there to help them through their pregnancies". The legal brief for Becerra - which defends a California law mandating crisis pregnancy centers post information about abortion - stated an eye-popping figure. France has also penalized pro-life sites that pose as "official or neutral". Lawyers for the centers say that their clients, out of religious objections, do not refer patients for abortion and that they can not be compelled to post the notification. The court did not act on three other cases brought by other centers making similar claims.

"We reject appellants' arguments that they are entitled to a preliminary injunction based on their free speech claims", U.S. Circuit Judge Dorothy Nelson wrote for a three-judge panel.

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