US Supreme Court to Tackle California's Abortion-Notice Law


The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday agreed to consider whether a California law requiring clinics to tell women how to access information about low-priced contraception and abortions violates the First Amendment rights of providers who oppose abortion.

According to the law, the notice must read, "California has public programs that provide immediate free or low-priced access to comprehensive family planning services (including all FDA-approved methods of contraception), prenatal care, and abortion for eligible women".

"The implications of the Supreme Court's decision in this case will reverberate nationwide, to similar unconstitutional laws in IL and Hawaii", he added.

Additionally, the law requires unlicensed centers to expressly indicate they are not licensed as medical facilities in California.

The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled against the centers a year ago.

Despite losing their appeal for an injunction, U.S. District Judge John Houston refused last month to dismiss the case.

"The price of non-compliance with the so-called "FACT Act" is severe: pregnancy resource centers face fines and the loss of medical licenses for noncompliance", he said.

The California government defends the law by saying regulating professional speech in a medical context upholds its valid state interest in safeguarding public health. Care Net's brief said the FACT Act targeted pregnancy crisis centers, given the state's lack of regulations on abortion; California is one of about a dozen states that don't require parental consent for a minor to get an abortion, for example. "The California Department of Justice will do everything necessary to protect women's healthcare rights".

The decision marks the first time the country's highest court will hear an abortion-related case during the Trump administration.

California's law requires clinics to distribute the information about abortions in one of three ways: posting it at the clinic, printing and handing out information to patients, or by posting the information online.

The law also gives the attorney general and other prosecutors the power "to bring an action to impose a specified civil penalty against covered facilities that fail to comply with these requirements".

Other clinics sued to block the law in Northern California, but their appeals to the Ninth Circuit were rejected. "Information about abortion is just about everywhere, so the government doesn't need to punish pro-life centers for declining to advertise for the very act they can't promote". They are typically run by groups with strong anti-abortion views.

The petitioners say they are "life-affirming pregnancy centers" that offer a variety of medical and counseling services for pregnant women to consider options to abortion.