The Democrat Party slammed the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday for blocking a California law that forces pro-life pregnancy centers to promote abortions.
In a 5-4 ruling Tuesday, the high court sided with pregnancy centers in National Institute of Family and Life Advocates v. Becerra, on the grounds of free speech violations.
Justice Clarence Thomas, who wrote the decision, commented: “[T]he people lose when the government is the one deciding which ideas should prevail…. This Court’s precedents are deeply skeptical of laws that ‘distinguis[h] among different speakers, allowing speech by some but not others.’”
But the Democrat Party, which has moved from promoting “choice” to openly pushing abortion on demand, called the ruling a “brazen assault on women’s rights and health,” Elite Daily reports.
“Once again, Republicans and their allies are turning back the clock and telling women what they can and can’t do with their bodies,” the party said in a statement. “Democrats believe that women have the right to make their own decisions about their reproductive health.”
It continued: “We believe in making it easier, not harder, for women to get the information they need when making these decisions. We believe that no woman should be denied her basic rights based on income, race, or geography. And we will fight tooth and nail to protect a woman’s constitutional right to an abortion.”
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, a pro-abortion Democrat from California, also slammed the ruling Tuesday, NBC News reports.
“[This] is a grave step backwards in our nation’s fight to protect and advance the rights of women and opens the door for anti-choice activists to deceive and prey on vulnerable women seeking complete, accurate and unbiased information critical to their health and wellbeing,” she said.
Abortion activists with NARAL and the Center for Reproductive Rights argue that the law is necessary because pregnancy centers “manipulate and deceive” pregnant women. However, Heartbeat International pointed out that they have not been able to produce one single testimony from a woman who was harmed by a pregnancy center.
What’s more, Justice Anthony Kennedy, a moderate who sometimes sides with the abortion industry, said the law discriminates against the pro-life viewpoint.
“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.”
The California law is not about choice. It pushes abortion on pregnant women. Pregnancy centers offer life-affirming choices to pregnant moms, especially ones who think abortion is their only option; and they provide information and support that women do not get at abortion facilities. And while the abortion industry makes millions selling abortions, pro-life pregnancy centers lose money providing free services to pregnant and parenting moms and babies.
Thomas Glessner, president of National Institutes of Family and Life Advocates (NIFLA), previously told the McClatchy News Service the law forces about 200 pregnancy centers in California to be “abortion referral agencies.”
He rejoiced at the ruling Tuesday, saying: “The right of free speech protected in the First Amendment not only includes the right to speak, but also the right to not be compelled by government to speak a message with which one disagrees and which violates one’s conscience. The court correctly found that the California law clearly offends this principle. We are very pleased with the court’s decision and for what it means for the many pro-life centers that serve and empower women in California and throughout the country.”
The law required pregnancy centers to advertise state taxpayer-funded abortions, and charged a cumulative fine of $1,000 for every repeated instance that the notice is not communicated to a client. It sabotaged freedom of speech by forcing organizations to encourage actions that are in direct opposition to their religious beliefs and counter the mission and purpose of their organizations, an argument that the high court agreed with.
Similar government-sponsored speech for pregnancy centers has been struck down as unconstitutional in Austin, Texas, Baltimore and Montgomery County, Maryland, and New York City.
Justice Clarence Thomas wrote the opinion for the 5-4 majority in which Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Kennedy, Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch joined. The four abortion advocates, Justices Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan ruled that pregnancy centers can be forced to promote abortions.
The ruling could impact similar pro-abortion anti-free-speech laws enacted in other states, including Hawaii and Illinois.