On June 26, 2018, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled 5-4 in favor of pregnancy resource centers in NIFLA v. Becerra, a major pro-life win, telling the state of California that it cannot force pregnancy centers to promote abortion with its draconian “Reproductive FACT Act,” mandating government messaging to dispense information about abortion services. The Supreme Court ruled that this “likely violates the First Amendment,” stopping short of directly striking down the law, and instead, sending it back to the lower courts with the order that certain provisions of it be immediately blocked.
“California cannot co-opt the licensed facilities to deliver its message for it,” Justice Clarence Thomas wrote in the majority opinion.
Across the nation, pro-abortion groups have been targeting pro-life pregnancy centers. Quite simply, the fact that pregnancy centers outnumber abortion clinics more than 5 to 1 and specifically exist in order to save women and children from abortion angers the abortion industry because it takes away potential clients and their money.
This major victory for pro-life pregnancy centers won’t just affect those in California.
In April, the Trump Administration agreed to investigate Hawaii for forcing pregnancy resource centers and pro-life doctors to advertise the availability of abortion. Hawaii SB 501 actually requires pregnancy centers to direct women to a state agency that provides abortion referrals and to have large signs and fliers that say Hawaii “provides free or low-cost access” to abortion drugs. However, Alliance Defending Freedom Legal Counsel Elissa Graves stated that the law doesn’t allow Hawaii to force pro-life doctors to advertise abortion because “states that require pro-life doctors and staff to act contrary to their conscience don’t qualify for federal funds.”
A similar law in Illinois requires medical providers to inform patients about all medical options including abortion, even if it goes against the religious beliefs or moral values of the doctor or medical staff. The law has been blocked temporarily and those fighting the law say they are encouraged by the Supreme Court’s ruling.
“It’s completely viewpoint discriminatory,” said Thomas Olp, Thomas More Society attorney representing Hope Life Center in Illinois. “It’s attacking someone who has the conscientious objection to abortion.”
The Supreme Court ruling, he added, “confirms our position in Illinois.”
In Hartford, Connecticut, an ordinance which looked to mandate that pregnancy resource centers advertise the availability of free and low-cost abortions has been suspended due to the Supreme Court’s ruling in NIFLA v. Becerra. It was set to go into effect on July 1, 2018. Pro-life groups in the state celebrated; however, pro-abortion groups vowed to push forward with their agenda.
“The Hartford Court of Common Council and those who are supportive of this ordinance will continue to be supportive, myself included,” said Counsel Minority Leader Widaliz Bermudez.
Meanwhile, Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy is continuing with the anti-pregnancy center agenda, pushing the Connecticut General Assembly to adopt legislation in response to the Supreme Court ruling in order to require pregnancy centers to tell women how to access abortion.