Earlier today, the Supreme Court of the United States released its decision in the matter of NIFLA v. Becerra. In this case, pro-life pregnancy centers challenged a California law (the so-called FACT Act) that would require licensed pregnancy centers to provide information about the availability of abortion, including a phone number where abortion referrals could be obtained. The FACT Act would also require unlicensed pregnancy centers to include a government-drafted statement on their advertising materials stating that they are not licensed medical facilities. Contending that the FACT Act violated the First Amendment, the pro-life petitioners moved for a preliminary injunction barring the enforcement of the law while their lawsuit was pending. After the district court and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the pro-life petitioners’ motion, the case was appealed to the Supreme Court.
In a 5-4 decision, the Court reversed the Ninth Circuit’s decision, held that the pro-life petitioners were likely to succeed on their First Amendment claims, and remanded the case for further proceedings. Rev. Jason J. McGuire, Executive Director of New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms (NYCF), made the following remarks:
“The Supreme Court’s decision in NIFLA v. Becerra is a victory for all pro-life Americans and for all Americans who believe in free speech. Today’s decision does two important things. First, it allows pregnancy centers to continue doing what they do best—helping, supporting, and encouraging women facing crisis pregnancies—without being hindered by burdensome and objectionable notice requirements. Second, today’s decision reaffirms the Court’s commitment to freedom of speech for all Americans. No one should be forced by government to express a message that violates his or her convictions, especially on a divisive topic like abortion. It is hoped that today’s decision will help to dissuade other state legislatures—including the New York State Legislature—from passing similarly unconstitutional restraints on free speech, whether those laws relate to pro-life pregnancy centers, counselors that assist clients seeking to resolve unwanted same-sex attraction, or others who express views that liberal elites find disagreeable.”
Noted Christian attorney and writer David French filed an amicus brief in this case on behalf of 41 family policy organizations, including New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms. Rev. McGuire concluded, “Though this case originated in California, we knew that it would have an impact on free speech rights and pro-life centers across America. Representing multitudes of New Yorkers, NYCF is thankful for the opportunity to be heard in this important case.”
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