And the verdict is good news for them.
By a vote of 5-4, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that California can’t force medically licensed pregnancy centers, in the business of saving the unborn, to advertise that women can kill their babies and that taxpayers will pay for the deaths.
The California legislature forced pregnancy centers to post 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. To determine whether you qualify, contact the county social services office at [insert the telephone number].”
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit contended that the notice was narrowly drawn to achieve the state’s substantial interests in “safeguarding public health and fully informing Californians of the existence of publicly-funded medical services.”
But the Supreme Court shot it down. From Live Action News (emphasis added):
The court stated in its majority opinion, delivered by Justice Clarence Thomas, that “California could… inform the women about its services ‘without burdening a speaker with unwanted speech,’… most obviously through a public-information campaign.”
The Court noted:
The only justification [for the FACT Act] put forward by the state legislature was ensuring that pregnant women know when they are receiving medical care from licensed professionals, but California denied that the justification for the law was that women did not know what kind of facility they are entering when they go to a crisis pregnancy center. Even if the State had presented a non-hypothetical justification, the FACT Act unduly burdens protected speech. It imposes a government-scripted, speaker-based disclosure requirement that is wholly disconnected from the State’s informational interest. It requires covered facilities to post California’s precise notice, no matter what the facilities say on site or in their advertisements.
… [T]he licensed notice is not limited to “purely factual and uncontroversial information about the terms under which . . . services will be available.” …The notice in no way relates to the services that licensed clinics provide. Instead, it requires these clinics to disclose information about state-sponsored services— including abortion, anything but an “uncontroversial” topic.