WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral argument today for National Institute of Family and Life Advocates (NIFLA) v. Becerra, one of four cases brought by crisis pregnancy centers challenging a California law as a violation of the First Amendment. Argument inside the Court lasted for one hour.
Under the California law, licensed pregnancy counseling centers in the state are required to post the following government-prescribed message in their facilities and in their advertising or be fined $500 for the first violation and $1,000 for each additional violation:
“California has public programs that provide immediate free or low-cost access to comprehensive family planning services (including all FDA-approved methods of contraception), prenatal care and abortion for eligible women. To determine whether you qualify, contact the county social services office at [insert the telephone number].”
The notice must be written in 48-point type in up to 12 languages, depending on the county.
“The majority of justices voiced concerns that the law violated the First Amendment,” said Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel. “The justices boxed in the state attorney when he had to admit that the mere words ‘Choose Life’ on a billboard and the name of the pregnancy center requires the mandated contrary message in 48-point font in 13 languages in Los Angeles County. Justice Sotomayor remarked this requirement is burdensome. The California law forces crisis pregnancy centers to speak a message that goes directly against their religious beliefs and mission to save lives. The First Amendment protects the right to speak and the right not to speak. I am very optimistic after the oral argument that the Court will strike down the law,” said Staver.
About Liberty Counsel
Liberty Counsel is an international nonprofit, litigation, education, and policy organization dedicated to advancing religious freedom, the sanctity of life, and the family since 1989, by providing pro bono assistance and representation on these and related topics.
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.