Can pregnancy centers be forced to tell people how to get abortions?
That is a question the Supreme Court has decided it will answer.
The case is NIFLA v. Becerra and comes to us from the land of fruits and nuts, California, where the state passed a law requiring pro-life pregnancy centers to help women get abortions.
While these clinics exist specifically to provide women the resources they need to keep their baby alive, the law says that those centers must tell women how they can get free abortions.
Can you imagine Planned Parenthood being forced to provide the names and phone numbers of adoption agencies to any pregnant woman who walks into their office?
This proposal isn’t just mean-spirited, it also violates the principles of free speech we Americans have always enjoyed and cherished.
Compelled speech is what terrorists do to hostages to make a point; it shouldn’t be tolerated in a country that considers itself free.
We know that the First Amendment protects our rights to say the things we want to say, but it also protects your right not to say things you don’t want to say.
That’s why you can criticize the government if you want and you can also refuse to say the pledge of allegiance as well.
However, in California, as well as Hawaii and Illinois where similar laws have been passed, the government is trying to compel people to provide information in support of a cause they believe to be immoral.
Similar legislation was introduced multiple times in the Washington State legislature, but thanks to an amazing response from the public, they were defeated.
This shouldn’t be a pro-life, pro-choice debate.
Even if you personally support abortion, you shouldn’t support people being forced to advertise for activities they find to be immoral. What if the shoe was on the other foot?
Fortunately, help may be on the way.
Tom Glessner, the President of NIFLA, the Plaintiff in this case, told FPIW he is confident they will prevail. In fact, based on rulings by the court in recent free speech cases, he believes it could be a unanimous decision. Despite our differences, a shared commitment to an individual’s right to free speech should unite us. Hopefully, the Supreme Court will lead the way.
Oral arguments are expected to happen sometime in February.
Let’s hope the First Amendment, and common decency, prevail.