On Tuesday, the Supreme Court will hear arguments in National Institute of Family and Life Advocates (NIFLA) v. Becerra, to decide if a California law mandating that pro-life pregnancy centers post information about abortion is a violation of the First Amendment and free speech rights.
California’s “Reproductive FACT Act” requires pregnancy centers that do not provide abortion services to display a notice informing patients about California programs that, among other things, can provide a free or low-cost abortion for eligible women.
The law also mandates that any non-medical pregnancy center, such as one that distributes free maternity clothing or baby items to a pregnant woman, must display a notice explaining that it is not licensed as a medical facility in the state of California. There is no current licensing scheme in the state of California for non-medical facilities who distribute baby supplies.
The Reproductive FACT Act was passed in 2015. Pregnancy centers filed suit shortly afterwards. NIFLA argues that pro-life employees at pregnancy centers should not be compelled to share information about abortion services. After a series of appeals, the Supreme Court agreed to hear the case in 2017.
Pro-life pregnancy centers are often located near abortion facilities and sometimes provide sonograms and other medical care for pregnant women, free of charge. They do not provide abortion services or abortion referrals, and counselors at these centers encourage a woman to continue her pregnancy.
Similar laws, such as one in Baltimore, have been struck down in courts as unconstitutional.