Leading pro-life groups are ecstatic about today’s Supreme Court decision striking down a California pro-abortion law that forces pregnancy centers to promote abortions. A majority on the Supreme Court agreed that it is a violation of free speech for California to force pro-life pregnancy centers to push abortion on their clients when they want to provide abortion alternatives.
Here is a sample of some of the comments LifeNews has received from leading pro-life organizations responding to today’s decision:
Jor-El Godsey, president of Heartbeat International: In a 5-4 decision, the justices have rightly supported the freedom of speech of over 200 pro-life pregnancy centers and medical clinics in California, so we can continue to help women choose life without being forced to post a state-sponsored message of abortion. This is an unquestionably major triumph for U.S. pregnancy centers working to save families from the sting of abortion. Today’s ruling is the latest—and most significant—court victory for pro-life pregnancy centers which have been the target of similarly onerous free speech restrictions in New York, Connecticut, Maryland, Texas, Hawaii, and Illinois, so today, we celebrate!
Mark Rienzi, president of Becket, a non-profit religious liberty law firm: “The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that both sides of a debate matter, and the government cannot silence one side’s speech just because it may be unpopular. Crisis pregnancy centers like NIFLA serve women and children according to their religious mission, and California should respect that. This ruling proves that when it comes to important issues, the government doesn’t get to tell people what to believe, and it also doesn’t get to tell people what to say about it.”
National Right to Life President Carol Tobias: 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.Family Research Council President Tony Perkins offered the following reaction to the decision: “The First Amendment is clear in its wording and guarantees all Americans are legally protected from compelled speech by their government. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled the state of California was clearly in the wrong in this case and all Americans, whether pro-life or not, should be relieved with the Supreme Court’s decision. What if the government made a vegan grocer to post ads for the local butcher shop? Everyone would agree that that’s not fair. This case is no different and thankfully, the Court recognized that fact.
“We are extremely pleased to see the nation’s pro-life pregnancy centers and their advocates vindicated by the Supreme Court,” said Chuck Donovan, president of the Charlotte Lozier Institute, the research arm of Susan B. Anthony List. “The Court sent a clear message today that California’s cruel mandate unacceptably infringes on pregnancy centers’ First Amendment liberties – a ruling that will reverberate across the country wherever these remarkable nonprofits have been subjected to state bullying as they strive to carry out their mission of love. Pregnancy centers exist to serve and support mothers in the courageous decision to give their children life, even under difficult circumstances. Approximately 2,750 centers around the country provide a multitude of free services for millions of women, as well as tens of thousands of men, at nearly $161 million in annual cost savings to their communities. The biggest winners in today’s decision are women, children, and families.”
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“Today’s decision protecting pregnancy centers from having to advertise or refer for abortion reveals the extremism of the abortion industry. These centers exist to offer women a clear alternative to abortion and the abortion lobby bullied them all the way to the Supreme Court because they could not tolerate authentic choice for women. From the start, the case was a free-speech no brainer. Our First Amendment right to freedom of speech not only protects the right to speak out, it protects the right not to speak. Compelled speech is the doing of authoritarian regimes, not free and flourishing democracies. Thankfully, efforts to force pregnancy resource centers to violate their core beliefs have failed and they can continue to serve women and offer them true hope and a chance to flourish.” – Ashley McGuire, Senior Fellow with The Catholic Association.
“This is a significant victory for pro-life pregnancy centers and the decision represents a tremendous victory for the First Amendment,” said Jay Sekulow, Chief Counsel of the ACLJ. “This decision brings an end to the troubling abortion distortion factor. The court clearly understood that First Amendment free speech rights cannot be applied differently – one set of rules for those protecting the right-to-life, and another for those promoting abortion.”
Penny Nance, CEO and President of Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee: “We applaud the U.S. Supreme Court for sending a clear statement today that pro-life Americans cannot be discriminated against and targeted by government. The State of California’s insidious effort to prevent pregnancy care centers from helping suffering women is appalling. To be clear, this case was not about abortion. Malicious abortion politics definitely were the motivation behind it, but the case centered on the inappropriate mandate of the state compelling pro-life clinics to promote abortion in violation of their consciences. The case was about forced speech.”
Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ): “In NIFLA v. Becerra today, the Court ruled against a California law that requires medically licensed pregnancy centers to tell clients where to get free and low-cost abortions. This law was a blatant, egregious violation of the freedom of speech protected in the First Amendment. The government cannot coerce or compel the speech of its citizens. Period. Pregnancy centers were created to affirm life and to love both mother and baby. They want no part of a law requiring them to tell a woman where to go to kill her child. Thankfully, today the Supreme Court recognized their First Amendment right to free speech—and to refrain from speaking.”
Students for Life of America President Kristan Hawkins said that today’s Supreme Court ruling in NIFLA v. Becerra “put a halt to the abortion industry’s campaign forcing pro-life advocates to act as a sales team for abortion. Planned Parenthood and the abortion industry fought to destroy the free speech rights of pro-life individuals in California who daily work to help women choose life for their pre-born infants. This effort shows the true hypocrisy of abortion advocates who didn’t respect the Constitutional rights of those who love women and their preborn infants.”