By Lynda Bell
Editor’s note. This response appeared in The Tallahassee Democrat.
This article is so obviously ridiculous that it almost didn’t need a reply. Nonetheless, I reply for that one person who may read and be grossly mislead.
Ms. Weintraub immediately deceives readers by stating that the California case currently being heard in the U.S. Supreme Court concerning free speech is about “allowing anti-abortion counseling centers in Florida, and across the nation, to deceive women.”
I literally laughed out loud at her absurd interpretation.
Let me explain what the case is really about. California is one of the most radically pro-abortion states in the country. They cannot stand that there are wonderful life-affirming centers that give women and girls an alternative to allowing abortionists to end the lives of their babies. To top it off (God forbid), the pregnancy center services are free.
To stop women from having an alternative, California passed a law requiring pregnancy centers to advertise in grossly large font for abortion services within their walls. Yes, you read that correctly — they require pro-life centers to advertise where the clients can get an abortion! As if any woman can’t do a quick Google search.
Ms. Weintraub states that pregnancy centers, “are generally run by anti-abortion, often religious organizations that target pregnant women.”
Well, duh. Yes, they are run by pro-life people, and yes, some are faith based (oh, the horrors). Ms. Weintraub really tells on herself with that comment. People of faith and of no faith alike can agree that women should have alternatives to the killing of defenseless unborn babies.
This [the California law] is clearly a case of compelled speech. The High Court has to weigh the constitutionality or the unconstitutionally of compelled speech. Can a state require speech from an organization, especially when that speech violates its moral consciousness?
The problem with the California law and compelled speech is that the law was designed just to target pregnancy resource centers. No other centers or facilities have to comply with this law.
Even extremely liberal Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan struggled with the verbiage and intent of the law, noting that it was tailored specifically to target the pro-life centers. The law puts onerous advertising requirements upon these centers, requirements that violate their very purpose for being. This is blatantly unconstitutional and I predict the law will be overturned this summer.
Ms. Weintraub should be cautious on her endorsement of compelled speech. If the California law stands, then why couldn’t we pass a law requiring that abortion clinics advertise for pregnancy resource centers as an alternative to abortion?
Something to think about.
Lynda Bell is president of Florida Right to Life and chairman of the board of National Right to Life.