Why forcing pregnancy help centers to advertise abortions is not informed consent

By Dave Andrusko

Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry

Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry recently wrote a very informative post clarifying a distinction pro-abortionists are determined to blur but which the Supreme Court recognized. The headline read, “It’s Not Informed Consent to Force Pregnancy Centers to Advertise Abortions.”

AG Landry is referring to the June 26 Supreme Court case of NIFLA v. Becerra in which the High Court, by the narrowest of 5-4 margins, agreed that it was an abridgment of the First Amendment rights of pregnancy help centers in California to require licensed pregnancy resource centers to disclose where women could receive free or low-cost abortions, and require unlicensed centers to insert state-dictated material in their advertising.

The following is the final half of his excellent post in which Mr. Landry thoughtful explains why “a law forcing pro-life centers to advertise for abortions is not the same as a law requiring informed consent.”

When one enters into a doctor-patient relationship and seeks a medical service, an informed consent requirement for that specific service is triggered. This important part of any medical procedure is designed to ensure a patient is fully informed of the risks involved. Forcing religious-based pro-life pregnancy centers (most of whom perform limited services like distributing free self-administered pregnancy tests, offering access to ultrasounds, and providing counseling) to inform women of where they can get free abortions has nothing to do with educating them of any risks posed by pregnancy tests or ultrasounds. Rather, it is a violation of their right to be free from government-compelled speech that infringes upon the very religious beliefs motivating them to offer these services in the first place.

Justice Clarence Thomas reaffirmed in his majority opinion in NIFLA that informed consent is an important part of consenting to an abortion. And he pointed out the very distinction our brief made, when he opined: “The notice does not facilitate informed consent to a medical procedure. In fact, it is not tied to a procedure at all. It applies to all interactions between a covered facility and its clients, regardless of whether a medical procedure is ever sought, offered, or performed. If a covered facility does provide medical procedures, the notice provides no information about the risks or benefits of those procedures.”

Louisiana law promotes mothers choosing life and provides/reaffirms the importance of informed consent when women make this life-altering decision. My office and I will continue to defend these statutes and work toward empowering women with the truth about abortion and its consequences. We will also continue to defend the rights of religious organizations and individuals to be free of government interference with the free exercise of their beliefs.

I will never abandon these fights.