The Supreme Court announced Monday it will take up a First Amendment challenge to the California FACT ACT, which requires all licensed pregnancy centers to promote state-run programs that provide abortions.
A group of life-affirming pregnancy centers in the state, however, have argued through their attorney that the law violates their First Amendment rights through compelled speech. A similar challenge was successful earlier this week in state court.
Kevin Snider, an attorney representing A Woman's Friend Pregnancy Resource Clinic and Alternative Women's Center, in his petition to the high court, argued his clients, out of religious objections, do not refer patients for abortion and that they cannot be compelled to post the notification. He added:
Based on religious convictions, these clinics strongly object to being compelled to speak the messages required by the Act's disclosure.
Both petitioners offer a variety of medical and counseling services for pregnant women, but do not want to be compelled to promote abortion. The FACT Act, passed in 2015, applies to all facilities “whose primary purpose is providing family planning or pregnancy-related services.”
They are subsequently required to provide the following notice:
California has public programs that provide immediate free or low-cost access to comprehensive family planning services (including all FDA-approved methods of contraception), prenatal care, and abortion for eligible women.
The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected pregnancy centers’ arguments against the FACT Act last year.
CNN noted this case will mark the first time the Supreme Court has agreed to hear an abortion-related case during the Trump administration. While focusing on the fact that one of President Donald Trump’s personal lawyers, Jay Sekulow, is involved in the case, it should also be noted this will be the first abortion case to be heard with Neil Gorsuch on the high court.