Yesterday, the Supreme Court found in favor of California’s pro-life crisis pregnancy centers in a 5 to 4 decision in NIFLA v. Becerra that upheld their right to not have to advertise for state-subsidized abortion.
Pro-life leaders celebrated the decision, here is a round-up of their responses.
Mark Rienzi, president of Becket Fund for Religious Liberty
The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that both sides of a debate matter, and the government cannot silence one side’s speech just because it may be unpopular. Crisis pregnancy centers like NIFLA serve women and children according to their religious mission, and California should respect that. This ruling proves that when it comes to important issues, the government doesn’t get to tell people what to believe, and it also doesn’t get to tell people what to say about it.
Chuck Donovan, president of the Charlotte Lozier Institute, the research arm of Susan B. Anthony List:
We are extremely pleased to see the nation’s pro-life pregnancy centers and their advocates vindicated by the Supreme Court. The Court sent a clear message today that California’s cruel mandate unacceptably infringes on pregnancy centers’ First Amendment liberties – a ruling that will reverberate across the country wherever these remarkable nonprofits have been subjected to state bullying as they strive to carry out their mission of love. Pregnancy centers exist to serve and support mothers in the courageous decision to give their children life, even under difficult circumstances. Approximately 2,750 centers around the country provide a multitude of free services for millions of women, as well as tens of thousands of men, at nearly $161 million in annual cost savings to their communities. The biggest winners in today’s decision are women, children, and families.
Family Research Council President Tony Perkins
The First Amendment is clear in its wording and guarantees all Americans are legally protected from compelled speech by their government. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled the state of California was clearly in the wrong in this case and all Americans, whether pro-life or not, should be relieved with the Supreme Court’s decision.
What if the government made a vegan grocer to post ads for the local butcher shop? Everyone would agree that that’s not fair. This case is no different and thankfully, the Court recognized that fact.
California lawmakers, through this law that has now been struck down, attempted to override the First Amendment, forcing private entities to speak messages against their beliefs, and punishing them if don’t comply. That this could happen in America, should be of grave concern to all Americans, regardless of their views on abortion.
Pro-life pregnancy centers provide, at no charge, the practical resources, information and emotional help women need to choose life for their baby, and to care for their child long after their born. Pregnancy resource centers should not be compelled to speak a message that goes against the very nature of their existence. We are thankful they can continue their good work without fear of punishment.”
If the government has the right to compel speech from these centers, what will stop the government from forcing your church or non-profit to promote a message that runs counter to your mission? Americans can now breathe a sigh of relief that this question will not have to be answered in practice.
Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel
Today we celebrate that the Supreme Court overturned this forced speech law. California can no longer force crisis pregnancy centers to speak a message that goes directly against their religious beliefs and mission to save lives. The First Amendment protects the right to speak and the right not to speak. To be forced to post state-prescribed notices in large font undermining the mission of the pregnancy centers is a shocking violation of the First Amendment. To be forced to post state-prescribed notices in large font undermining the mission of the pregnancy centers is a shocking violation of the First Amendment.
Terry Schilling, Executive Director of American Principles Project
Today, the Supreme Court has dealt another setback to the Left’s repeated attempts to subvert the First Amendment. By ruling against California’s blatantly unconstitutional law, the Court has made it clear that freedom of speech still remains protected, even when threatened by the Left’s ever-intensifying efforts to force people of faith to speak and act against their beliefs. We hope that crisis pregnancy centers in California will now be able to continue with their important work of providing assistance to women and children in need, unharassed by hostile state legislators.
What this case, and Masterpiece Cakeshop before it, show is that progressives have taken their anti-Christian animus to the extreme — an extreme far beyond what the Supreme Court is willing to tolerate. The real question now is: will the Left’s repeated losses finally convince them that they have gone too far? Or will they continue in this radical campaign against religious expression and free speech, and risk losing the support of more and more Americans in the process?
Michael Farris, CEO and General Counsel of Alliance Defending Freedom, who argued the case before the Supreme Court.
No one should be forced by the government to express a message that violates their convictions, especially on deeply divisive subjects such as abortion. In this case, the government used its power to force pro-life pregnancy centers to provide free advertising for abortion. The Supreme Court said that the government can’t do that, and that it must respect pro-life beliefs.
Tolerance and respect for good-faith differences of opinion are essential in a diverse society like ours. They enable us to coexist peacefully with one another. If we want to have freedom for ourselves, we have to extend it to others.
NIFLA President Thomas Glessner
The right of free speech protected in the First Amendment not only includes the right to speak, but also the right to not be compelled by government to speak a message with which one disagrees and which violates one’s conscience. The court correctly found that the California law clearly offends this principle. We are very pleased with the court’s decision and for what it means for the many pro-life centers that serve and empower women in California and throughout the country.
National Right to Life President Carol Tobias
Today’s decision by the Supreme Court is a victory for pro-life free speech and the First Amendment. Pregnancy resource centers provide vital, life-affirming alternatives to mothers facing an unexpected pregnancy. It was outrageous that pro-abortion activists would use the state to force these centers to promote a deadly pro-abortion agenda. Hopefully this will end the harassment of pregnancy resource centers that are trying to help mothers rather than kill their children.
Russell Moore, President of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention
The court ruled the right way today. The court affirmed the freedom of speech, freedom of expression, that the state can’t force pro-life organizations to participate in abortion. That’s a good ruling. It’s good for all Americans, wherever we stand on a variety of issues. More importantly, though, this decision ought to remind us of the crucial work of pregnancy resource centers all around the country, advocating for unborn children and also for their mothers, providing to mothers the means to care for their children and to move forward toward flourishing in their lives and in their families.
Penny Nance, President and CEO of Concerned Women for America
Malicious abortion politics definitely were the motivation behind it, but the case centered on the inappropriate mandate of the state compelling pro-life clinics to promote abortion in violation of their consciences. The case was about forced speech.
Millions of women around the country, both pro-life and pro-abortion, reject this form of government tyranny. Freedom-loving women should celebrate the Court’s wisdom here in allowing all women to serve their fellow neighbor as their conscience dictates, free from government interference.
Kristan Hawkins, President of Students for Life of America
Planned Parenthood and the abortion industry fought to destroy the free speech rights of pro-life individuals in California who daily work to help women choose life for their pre-born infants. This effort shows the true hypocrisy of abortion advocates who didn’t respect the Constitutional rights of those who love women and their preborn infants.