In a 5-4 decision authored by Justice Clarence Thomas, the National Institute of Family and Life Advocates (NIFLA) defeated the State of California which was attempting to force pro-life pregnancy centers to help facilitate abortion appointments. Under the legislation, resource centers and pro-life clinics would be forced to tell pregnant mothers where, when, and how to schedule appointments to kill their preborn babies.
Emails gathered by Life Site News in 2015 showed that the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL) is the likely actual author of the legislation as similar bills have been appearing around the country at their direction. Thankfully, all of them will be voided by this ruling.
Justice Thomas summarizes the majority decision thusly:
[Under this law], licensed clinics must provide a government-drafted script about the availability of statesponsored services, as well as contact information for how to obtain them. One of those services is abortion—the very practice that petitioners are devoted to opposing. By requiring petitioners to inform women how they can obtain state-subsidized abortions—at the same time petitioners try to dissuade women from choosing that option— the licensed notice plainly “alters the content” of petitioners’ speech.”
Throughout his opinion, Justice Thomas referenced the majority decisions in Turner Broadcasting v. FCC (1997), Riley v. National Federation of the Blind of North Carolina (1988), and Miami Herald Publishing v. Tornillo (1974) which established that governments cannot compel organizations to project messages, especially those with which the organization disagrees.
Had this decision gone the other way, Planned Parenthood and other abortion clinics, via their cronies in the California legislature, would have been allowed to quite literally conscript all pro-life pregnancy centers in the state to provide free advertising for them. Being such an egregious example of compelled speech which violates the conscience, association, and freedom of speech rights of pregnancy clinics workers and volunteers, it’s a wonder the decision wasn’t unanimous.
In fact, it’s very troubling that four members of the Supreme Court would allow abortion lobbyists to conscript pro-life organizations to advertise for abortion. The razor-thin decision and relentless authoritarian, anti-free-speech impulse of progressive activists means there is reason to think this decision may be revisited in the future. We must remain vigilant against the abortion lobby who will not cease their attempts to silence opposition; something we at Created Equal are all too familiar with.
But for today, we are safe. Because of NIFLA and Alliance for Defending Freedom’s hard work fighting off these tyrannical laws written by abortion lobbyists and passed by the increasingly authoritarian California legislature, pro-life organizations and individuals nationwide can be confident that we will not be forced to choose between providing free advertising for those who kill babies and going to jail.