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Supreme Court Will Decide If California Pregnancy Centers Must Promote Abortion

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Debate over free speech rights of pro-life clinics will finally get resolved.

Pro-life pregnancy centers that oppose a California law requiring them to promote abortion resources will get to take their First Amendment claim to the US Supreme Court.

The high court announced Monday that it will hear the case of National Institute of Family and Life Advocates v. Becerra, one of four lawsuits filed against the state’s Reproductive Freedom, Accountability, Comprehensive Care, and Transparency (FACT) Act.

The 2015 law requires centers to post notices including contact information for local providers of free or low-cost abortions and contraception, which pro-life groups argue forces them to communicate a message that violates their beliefs.

“The state should protect freedom of speech and freedom from coerced speech,” said Kevin Theriot, senior counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), who is representing National Institute of Family and Life Advocates (NIFLA). “Information about abortion is just about everywhere, so the government doesn’t need to punish pro-life centers for declining to advertise for the very act they can’t promote.”

The NIFLA network represents 137 of California’s roughly 200 pregnancy centers, and works to convert them into licensed medical clinics. The FACT Act also requires unlicensed clinics to indicate their unlicensed status in their marketing and advertising.

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the law last October, saying that informing clients of “family-planning services” does not constitute an endorsement. However, a recent challenge to the law led a Southern California judge to issue a permanent injunction against it, Baptist Press reported.

“The FACT Act compels speech, and regulates content,” Riverside …

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Source: Christianity Today Magazine

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