Pro-life crisis pregnancy centers won an important victory for free speech when the U.S. Supreme Court, in a 5 to 4 ruling, decided in their favor in National Institute of Family and Life Advocates v. Becerra.
The case challenged a 2015 California law that required centers offering licensed medical care to provide their clients with information on where they can obtain free or low-cost abortions. The centers argued that the law compels pro-life citizens to deliver a pro-abortion message, when their purpose is to encourage expectant mothers to choose alternatives to abortion. The court rejected California’s argument that speech by licensed professionals warrants less protection than other forms of speech.
California also required unlicensed centers to include a disclaimer in large font size in all of their materials and advertisements. The court pointed out that a billboard with the two-word message “Choose Life” would have to be accompanied by a 29-word government-compelled message in as many as 13 languages. This would make paid advertising impractical, preventing pro-life counseling centers from effectively communicating with their target audience.
The NAE joined an amicus brief in support of the pro-life centers and welcomes the court’s ruling.