Ruling Places Free Speech of Anti-Abortion Activists above Calif.’s Interest of Ensuring Fake Clinics Do Not Lie to Women
Washington – The Supreme Court’s right-wing justices came together to invalidate, on First Amendment grounds, California’s law requiring fake women’s health centers to provide women medically accurate and factual information about abortion and other vital health care services.
California lawmakers enacted the FACT Act after finding that so-called health centers all over the state were using deceptive tactics to mislead women and steer them away from making timely and informed decisions about their care.
Writing for the 5-4 majority in National Institute of Family and Life Advocates v. Becerra, Justice Clarence Thomas said that the First Amendment rights of these so-called health centers trumped the substantial interest of California lawmakers in making sure the health of its residents is protected from the efforts of anti-abortion groups to deny women accurate information and access to health care services.
National Health Law Program Director of Reproductive Health Susan Berke Fogel blasted the majority for overturning the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which had upheld the California law.
“The Supreme Court majority has said to women in California that their health is secondary to the right of advocacy groups to lie about pregnancy and abortion,” Fogel said. “California lawmakers found rampant evidence of fake women’s health centers throughout the state that are conspiring to prevent women from accessing their right to abortion. These groups are not devoted to sound health care guidance, but instead to advocating for the demise of Roe v. Wade, and making abortion impossible.
We encourage California lawmakers and health and human rights advocates to continue their fight against these fake centers and their efforts to stigmatize and end abortion.”
National Health Law Program Executive Director Elizabeth G. Taylor said, “Too many so-called health centers in California and indeed throughout the country are fronts for anti-abortion propaganda and activity. We are greatly concerned about the ongoing attacks from the Trump administration, Congress, and the judiciary on abortion. These attacks continue to stigmatize a vital health care procedure, and support anti-abortion activists, who are literally working every day to keep women, disproportionally low-income women and women of color, from safe and sound health care and wellness.”
Please contact the National Health Law Program Director of Communications Jeremy Leaming at [email protected] or 202-552-5176 to speak with Fogel or Taylor about the today’s Supreme Court decision.
National Health Law Program founded in 1969 advocates for the rights of low income and underserved people to access quality health care.