US Supreme Court Questions Women Access to Abortion Information

Blayne Wittig executive director of Options for Women of California left a center in Concord California Debbie Whittaker nurse manager center and Christine Vatuone president and CEO of Informed Choices talk Feb. 8 at Informed Choices a crisis

Their petition supports NIFLA's side of the story that California's FACT Act violates the First-Amendment right to free speech.

On the conservative side of the bench, Justice Neil Gorsuch, hearing his first abortion-related case since taking the high court, wondered if the state could find different way to advertise its low-priced services without impinging on the speech of anti-abortion rights clinics.

"What [this law] does not do is regulate how NIFLA and other centers counsel the women who come to them", Gorod continued. Even Justice Sonia Sotomayor, one of the court's most liberal members, called one potential application of the law "burdensome and wrong".

Justice Samuel Alito seemed to agree and pointed out that the California law exempts many clinics that offer abortion.

Yet the state has done just that in two ways. Justice Elena Kagan asked if it might have been rigged in a way that would have targeted pro-life groups.

"If it has been gerrymandered, that's a serious issue", said Kagan. They want to say, constitutionally, 'We're just another wing of a political movement.

So based on Tuesday's oral arguments, California's law is nearly certainly going down.

The broader question, of whether the Supreme Court will offer sweeping protection to anti-abortion speakers - and far weaker protections to pro-abortion speakers - could remain unresolved until a future case.

The Justice Department, intervening in the case, opposed the first requirement but not the second. The court has already heard challenges from a Colorado baker who refused to make a cake celebrating a same-sex marriage and a Minnesota man blocked from wearing a tea party shirt to his polling place.

The outcome also could affect laws in other states that seek to regulate doctors' speech. California says the law is needed to let poor women know all their options.

'Reasonable licensing' or government interference?

The case revolves around a California law, AB 775, that requires pro-life pregnancy centers to tell women how they can obtain an abortion from the state.

Chiu was present on Tuesday, speaking at a counter-rally hosted by abortion group NARAL and Lady Parts Justice League, which was itself founded by former comedienne Lizz Winstead and has spent the past year harassing pregnancy help centers.

San Francisco, Oakland, Santa Clara County and Los Angeles with friends in NY and Baltimore submitted friend-of-the-court briefs supporting the law, Bay City News reports.

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The clinics, represented by the conservative Alliance Defending Freedom, say the court used too lax a standard when reviewing the law. He could have argued that abortion clinics - or, for that matter, regular medical facilities - do not have crisis pregnancy centers' record of seeking to mislead patients, and therefore California was justified in enacting a narrowly tailored statute meant to combat these deceptive practices where they exist.

Low-income women in particular are the most common visitors to nonprofit facilities like the ones challenging the law, but the state's publicity campaigns often miss this audience.

"I went into the pregnancy center because I was trying to hide what I was doing", she said after addressing crowd of around one hundred pro-life demonstrators.

"The state then provided exemptions for all other medical providers who serve pregnant women", he said. Violators are liable for a civil penalty of up to $500.

Critics say the centers use deceptive tactics to trick women into thinking they are entering an abortion clinic - in a bid to dissuade them from going through with the procedure.

"The First Amendment does not permit California to manipulate the marketplace of ideas in this way", it adds.

Accordingly, the California law forces the centers to do much more than promote the availability of state-subsidized abortions. A few moments later, Farris said that unlicensed clinics should not be subject to any disclosure provision because they don't provide medical procedures.

The Trump administration has taken a middle ground in the case.

Wilkinson also noted, however, that while California's law applies to both licensed and unlicensed clinics, the Baltimore rule only applied to unlicensed, religiously-associated clinics.

The notice, which the law specifies must either be posted as a public notice in "22-point type", "distributed to all clients in no less than 14-point font" or distributed digitally "at the time of check-in or arrival", applies to all pregnancy help medical clinics licensed by the state.

The National Institute of Family and Life Advocates is grateful that the Supreme Court is stepping in where California Gov.

"Informed consent is always triggered by a medical intervention", said Denise Harle, ADF legal counsel. Many of them began in church basements, but soon opened in storefronts resembling abortion clinics, sometimes near or even directly next to the clinics themselves.



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