A federal judge in San Diego on Friday put the final nail in the coffin of a California law intended to require pro-life pregnancy clinics to advertise the state’s abortion services.
The Supreme Court earlier ruled 5-4 in NIFLA v. Becerra that the state law likely violated the First Amendment by compelling speech and remanded the case to the district court for a hearing on the evidence.
The Daily Caller reported:
The FACT Act required clinics licensed by the state to post a bulletin relaying information about abortion access in a “conspicuous place” within the facility. Unlicensed clinics — which provide various support services but do not offer advanced medical care — must disclose that they are not credentialed to practice medicine on site and in all advertisements.
The National Institute of Family and Life Advocates (NIFLA) challenged the law on constitutional grounds, arguing it violated the First Amendment because it forces a private speaker to spread a message with which they disagree.
Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt, who is running for governor, signed onto to an amicus brief in the case with 21 other states, challenging the law as an unconstitutional burden on free speech. His Democratic opponent Steve Sisolak criticized Laxalt for taking such a stance.
“Informed consent is required specifically so that the patient can assess the risks and consequences of a procedure that a doctor is seeking to perform. …” the amicus brief in question argues. “In contrast, a State’s desire to compel clinics to disseminate information about the availability of state funding for procedures those clinics do not perform has nothing to do with allowing a patient to assess the risks and consequences of a medical procedure about to be performed.”
The California Legislature included in its official history the congratulatory statement that the Act was part of California’s legacy of “forward thinking.” But it is not forward thinking to force individuals to “be an instrument for fostering public adherence to an ideological point of view [they] fin[d] unacceptable.” Wooley v. Maynard, 430 U. S. 705, 715 (1977). It is forward thinking to begin by reading the First Amendment as ratified in 1791; to understand the history of authoritarian government as the Founders then knew it; to confirm that history since then shows how relentless authoritarian regimes are in their attempts to stifle free speech; and to carry those lessons onward as we seek to preserve and teach the necessity of freedom of speech for the generations to come. Governments must not be allowed to force persons to express a message contrary to their deepest convictions. Freedom of speech secures freedom of thought and belief. This law imperils those liberties.
If requiring the posting of abortion information is unconstitutional, then isn’t it also unconstitutional to require gas stations to post their prices? Can’t say I care though. I suspect all one has to do to find information is a Google search.