U.S. top court to hear case over 'crisis pregnancy centers'


Glessner said that California pro-life centers should not be penalized for doing their job in suggesting to women alternatives to abortion.

Justices will decide if requiring pregnancy centers to post notices about publicly-funded abortion and contraception services violates free speech rights. The challengers argue that the law, by forcing them to post the information, violates the U.S. Constitution's First Amendment guarantee of free speech.

It marks the first time the Supreme Court has agreed to hear an abortion-related case during the Trump administration, and one lawyer behind the challenge, Jay Sekulow, also serves on Trump's legal team.

The California case concerns a state law that requires centers operated by opponents of abortion to provide women with information about the availability of the procedure.

A spokesman for California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, who is defending the law, could not immediately be reached for comment.

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If the court strikes down California's law on free speech grounds, it could make it harder for Democratic-leaning states to regulate anti-abortion pregnancy centers. They are typically run by groups with strong anti-abortion views.

"California has a substantial interest in the health of its citizens, including ensuring that its citizens have access to and adequate information about constitutionally protected medical services like abortion", Judge Dorothy W. Nelson wrote for the panel in upholding the requirement that licensed clinics post a notice about abortion.

The law applies to facilities "whose primary objective is providing family planning or pregnancy-related services".

In February, the Atlanta-based 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Florida could not prohibit doctors from talking about gun safety with their patients, upending parts of a 2011 state law.

Lower courts had allowed the law to take effect.

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"The implications of the Supreme Court's decision in this case will reverberate nationwide, to similar unconstitutional laws in IL and Hawaii", he added.

The case started when Andrew Cilek was temporarily prevented from voting while wearing a T-shirt that said "Don't Tread on Me" and bore a Tea Party logo.

But the justices said in an order issued Monday that they would only consider the free speech clause issue, setting the stage for a significant ruling on compelled speech: to what extent can the government require people to convey speech with which they disagree.

The 8th Circuit, in St. Louis, upheld the law.

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