In a 5-4 ruling on Tuesday, the United States Supreme Court struck a major blow to a California law that requires anti-abortion pregnancy centers to inform patients about publicly funded abortion and contraception services, according to USA Today. Supporters of the law say they want the centers to be truthful about what they offer and what options are available to patients, but anti-abortion pregnancy centers believe the law violates the free speech of their employees. The Supreme Court’s ruling on crisis pregnancy centers Tuesday definitely affects pregnant women, and the case will now be sent to lower courts for further proceedings.
Let’s start at the beginning. In 2015, California enacted a law meant to ensure that anti-abortion crisis pregnancy centers do not, either intentionally or unintentionally, mislead patients who visit the centers, according to NPR. It was meant to make sure these centers didn’t use “deceptive practices” while informing patients of what they are, and what services they can offer.
The law also meant to combat the issue of lower-income women possibly not being made aware of the free pregnancy-related services the state of California provides, including prenatal care as well as birth control and abortion. The Reproductive FACT (Freedom, Accountability, Comprehensive Care and Transparency) Act requires clinics that don’t offer a range of reproductive care — including services that Medicaid covers — to post signage letting the public know that California does provide free or low-cost access to things like prenatal care, birth control, and reproductive care like abortions, NPR reported.
Both those issues directly impact pregnant people. When you’re looking for prenatal care, the last thing you want to worry about is whether the facility you’re turning to for care is licensed, and offers all the reproductive care options available to you. The point of the FACT Act was to take away some of that uncertainty, especially when it comes to seeking an abortion, because it made sure clinics had to inform their patients that free or low-cost abortions are available to them elsewhere if the clinic doesn’t offer the procedure.
The SCOTUS ruled that the law probably violated First Amendment rights, according to Vox. In addition, the law made…
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