“Forcing a pro-life group to advertise for abortion has to be unconstitutional.” That’s the beginning (emphasis added) of the opening brief in NIFLA v. Becerra, now pending in the U.S. Supreme Court. Thirty strong amicus briefs have been filed—by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Christian Legal Society, by 144 members of Congress, the attorneys general of 21 states, and pregnancy centers nationwide. But that first statement sums them up. If the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment has any meaning, it means this.
NIFLA is one of a flurry of cases involving crisis pregnancy centers. (See “Crisis Pregnancy Centers in Crisis.”) Abortion-rights activists have prompted states and cities to force centers to post signs on their waiting-room walls. The California statute at issue in NIFLA requires signs declaring:
California has public programs that provide immediate free or low-cost access to . . . abortion for qualified women. To determine whether you qualify, contact county social services at [telephone number].