Supreme Court Justices Signal Skepticism Over ‘Crisis Pregnancy Centers’ Law
During arguments, justices from across the ideological spectrum questioned whether the California law, that requires centers licensed by the state to post notices that free or low-cost abortion, contraception and prenatal care are available, singles out clinics run by antiabortion groups.
The New York Times:
Supreme Court Warily Eyes California Law Involving Abortion And Free Speech
A California law that requires “crisis pregnancy centers” to provide information about abortion met a skeptical reception at Supreme Court arguments on Tuesday. The centers, which are often affiliated with religious groups, seek to persuade women to carry their pregnancies to term or to offer their offspring for adoption. The law requires centers licensed by the state to post notices that free or low-cost abortion, contraception and prenatal care are available to low-income women through public programs, and to provide the phone number for more information. (Liptak, 3/20)
Supreme Court Hostile To Part Of California Law Aimed At 'Crisis Pregnancy Centers'
A surprisingly broad array of justices expressed serious concerns that the Reproductive FACT Act intrudes on First Amendment rights, by requiring such centers to include in their ads a state-provided notice in as many as 13 languages offering contact information about abortion services and other options. Justice Anthony Kennedy, a pivotal vote to uphold a constitutional right to abortion, was openly hostile to that provision. And even liberals like Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan raised doubts about that portion of the law. (Gerstein, 3/20)
The Wall Street Journal:
Justices Press California Over Law Challenged By Antiabortion Groups
Justice Samuel Alito suggested the law may have been designed to blunt the antiabortion message that such centers seek to deliver. While ostensibly covering hundreds of facilities across the state, the law contains many “crazy exemptions” that all point the same way, he said. If “it turns out that just about the only clinics that are covered by this are pro-life clinics,” couldn’t the court “infer intentional discrimination?” he said. (Bravin, 3/20)
Supreme Court Justices Cast Doubt On California Abortion-Disclosure Rules
The justices pressed the clinics’ lawyer, Michael Farris, to square his position with a 1992 Supreme Court decision that upheld "informed consent" requirements imposed on doctors who perform abortions. Justice Stephen Breyer suggested that abortion-rights states should have the same ability to require disclosure by clinics that oppose the procedure. "What is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander," he said. But other justices signaled they were more skeptical of California’s law. (Stohr, 3/20)
San Francisco Chronicle:
Supreme Court Questions Parts Of California Law Requiring Abortion Notification
Justice Anthony Kennedy, a Californian and moderate conservative who has cast the deciding vote in past abortion cases, criticized a provision of the law that requires clinics offering reproductive care, with no doctor on their staff, to inform clients they are unlicensed by the state. Noting that the disclosure provision applies to advertising, Kennedy said it would require a clinic that has paid for a billboard that simply said “Choose Life” to also include the notification. (Egelko, 3/20)