Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Fake Health Centers
On June 26, the Supreme Court of the United States handed down its 5–4 ruling in NIFLA v. Becerra, holding that California’s 2015 FACT Act—which requires licensed clinics that primarily offer services to pregnant women to post information regarding state family planning services, and unlicensed clinics that serve such individuals to post notification that they do not provide medical services—likely violates the First Amendment by imposing on the free-speech rights of fake health centers. The California legislature enacted the law based on claims that these centers intentionally mislead women facing unexpected pregnancies and provide inaccurate medical information in order to dissuade these women from seeking abortion care. Because the California law did not regulate all types of clinics that could potentially educate women about state services, the Court ultimately saw the statute as a content-based regulation on free speech that the state’s informational interest did not justify. Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, chair of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops Committee on Pro-life Activities, praised the Court’s decision.