Arguments in NIFLA v. Becerra will be heard at the U.S. Supreme Court on March 20. At issue is a California law requiring pro-life pregnancy centers to display information on how to obtain subsidized abortions.
Update to a December post: In “Ventriloquists at Work”, I described cases in Connecticut and California in which government agencies are trying to tell pro-life pregnancy care centers what kind of signage they must post. The U.S. Supreme Court will take a look at the California case later this year.
Just yesterday, January 5, the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals refused to uphold a similar law targeting a pro-life clinic in Baltimore, Maryland. That’s good news for all of us First Amendment fans.
From a press release from the Becket Fund, whose attorneys are representing the clinic in Baltimore:
…In 2009, the City of Baltimore targeted the Center, which operates out of Catholic Church-owned property, demanding they display a sign stating that they “do not provide or make referrals for abortion or birth control services,” even though they already inform women in welcome papers and a lobby sign about the caring services they do provide for free and also that they do not offer abortions. Yet the City of Baltimore did not require abortion clinics to display the services they do not offer, such as adoption or prenatal care. The Fourth Circuit’s decision today criticized Baltimore for adopting “retributive speech restrictions” on pro-life speakers, calling the restrictions a “grave violation” of “our nation’s dearest principles.”
Note the date of the city ordinance: eight years ago. Eight years of litigation would force most nonprofit pregnancy care centers out of business. Maybe that’s one of the factors motivating ordinance supporters. Thumbs up to the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty and other public-interest law firms who take on such cases.
This is a ventriloquist’s dummy. You can make it say anything you want.
This is a pregnancy help center. The Hartford, Connecticut City Council is trying to treat it like a dummy.
A newly-passed Hartford ordinance would require the Hartford Women’s Center, operated by St. Gerard’s Center for Life, to post certain language to address the fears of abortion advocates who think deception is at the core of what the HWC does.
The Hartford Councilors are not the only ventriloquist wannabes out there, just the latest.
The Hartford ordinance passed 7-2 on December 11, a few weeks after a packed-house public hearing. The seven city councilors who voted “yes” had an eye on California case, though. Peter Wolfgang of the Family Institute of Connecticut notes,
…in a last-minute change, the Hartford City Council altered the ordinance so that it goes into effect next July, instead of the original language which had it going into effect 30 days from its passage.
Why next July? Because the Supreme Court’s term – presumably including a decision on the California law – wraps up at the end of June.