This coming Tuesday, March 20, 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear a very important pro-life, free speech case: National Institute of Family and Life Advocates v. Becerra. And Concerned Women for America (CWA) will be in front of the Supreme Court to rally for freedom and for life.
This is the case I’ve written to you about, where pro-life clinics are being forced, under threat of law, to promote abortion services. The case challenges California’s Reproductive FACT Act (AB 775), which our CWA of California leaders fought so valiantly as it was proposed, because it was a law specifically designed to curtail pro-life clinics’ effectiveness by capriciously requiring them to do what the government could have done much more easily, without infringing on constitutional rights.
If you remember, under this law, pro-life clinics are required to post a notice that must read in multiple languages: “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].”
In some cases that county office will refer women to Planned Parenthood!
The law also required unlicensed pregnancy centers to put up large signs saying: “This facility is not licensed as a medical facility by the State of California and has no licensed medical provider who provides or directly supervises the provision of services.”
Not only that, the law also requires them to place a similar notice on the pro-life clinic’s advertisement. The Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), who will be arguing the case at the Supreme Court, recently showed what that would look like if a clinic just wanted to advertise their phone number:
What Government-Compelled Speech Actually Looks Like https://t.co/lRod1nN3qC pic.twitter.com/4mrGY35wLc
— AllianceDefends (@AllianceDefends) March 5, 2018
Our First Amendment right to freedom of speech includes not only the right to speak without government silencing you, but also the freedom not to be forced to speak what you don’t want to say.
This is not a religious liberty case, but the implications for religious liberty are daunting. The government in this case is not only forcing clinics and their workers to say something they don’t want to say, it is forcing people of faith to be involved in something that infringes upon their conscience. And it is completely unnecessary, as we’ve already mentioned.
This should be a 9-0 victory for NIFLA. It is that clear. Other courts have invalidated similar laws in places like Maryland, New York, and Texas. No one should be forced to violate their conscience in order to make government’s job easier.
But, as we know, it is more than about the law when we have judges willing to go beyond the scope of their judicial role. So, may I ask you to be in prayer daily for this important case? Pray for Michael Farris and his team, who will be arguing the case, and pray for the justices.
Also, if you are in the Washington, D.C., area, come down to the steps of the Supreme Court on Tuesday (8am-noon). We would love to meet you and stand alongside you as we stand for our constitutional rights and for life.