Supreme Court rejects California law targeting pregnancy resource centers

Court rules in NIFLA v. Becerra that the law “imposes a government-scripted, speaker-based disclosure requirement”

WASHINGTON – The National Right to Life Committee (NRLC), the federation of state right-to-life affiliates and more than 3,000 local chapters, applauded the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision today in NIFLA v. Becerra, a 5-4 ruling written by Justice Clarence Thomas. The suit, brought by the National Institute of Family and Life Advocates, challenged a California law requiring licensed pregnancy resource centers to disclose where women could receive free or low-cost abortions, and requiring unlicensed centers to insert state-dictated material in their advertising, thus violating the First Amendment rights of all pregnancy resource centers in the state.

In his concurrence with the majority opinion, Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote:

It does appear that viewpoint discrimination is inherent in the design and structure of this Act. This law is a paradigmatic example of the serious threat presented when government seeks to impose its own message in the place of individual speech, thought, and expression. For here the State requires primarily pro-life pregnancy centers to promote the State’s own preferred message advertising abortions. This compels individuals to contradict their most deeply held beliefs, beliefs grounded in basic philosophical, ethical, or religious precepts, or all of these.

In response to today’s decision, National Right to Life President Carol Tobias issued the following statement:

Today’s decision by the Supreme Court is a victory for pro-life free speech and the First Amendment. Pregnancy resource centers provide vital, life-affirming alternatives to mothers facing an unexpected pregnancy. It was outrageous that pro-abortion activists would use the state to force these centers to promote a deadly pro-abortion agenda. Hopefully this will end the harassment of pregnancy resource centers that are trying to help mothers rather than kill their children.

The full decision is available here.

NRLC Communications staff and spokespeople are on-site in Overland Park, Kansas for the 48th annual National Right to Life Convention. To arrange an interview, please contact the convention press office at (218) 341-5565 or via email at mediarelations@nrlc.org.