Victory for pro-life centres in US free speech case

Pro-life leaders are celebrating a ruling by the US Supreme Court which has significant implications for freedom of speech.

Supreme Court judges ruled 5-4 against a law which forced pro-life pregnancy centres in California to advertise that the state provides abortion.

The law had been signed in 2015 but was immediately challenged by several pro-life groups, with support from religious liberty organisation Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF).

‘Free advertising’

ADF CEO Michael Farris said: “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 peacefully coexist with one another. If we want to have freedom for ourselves, we have to extend it to others”, he added.

In the Supreme Court judges’ opinion, California’s law was deemed to be in violation of the First Amendment, which protects free speech. They also said the law would have become “unduly burdensome” in the state.

Free speech

The decision is a significant victory for pro-life pregnancy centres in California, and could also have ramifications in other states where similar laws have been proposed.

US Attorney General Jeff Sessions said the Government was “pleased” with the ruling which “protects Americans’ freedom of speech”.

“Speakers should not be forced by their government to promote a message with which they disagree, and pro-life pregnancy centers in California should not be forced to advertise abortion and undermine the very reason they exist.”

‘Victory’

Christian leader Russell Moore welcomed the decision on Twitter, calling it “a victory for freedom of speech”.

President and Founder of Live Action Lila Rose added: “Planned Parenthood and pro-abortion politicians in California manufactured this law specifically to target pro-life pregnancy centers.

“We applaud the Supreme Court for upholding the free speech rights of these centers.”

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