Supreme Court sides with anti-abortion crisis pregnancy centers

The U.S. Supreme Court sided with anti-abortion crisis pregnancy centers Tuesday, saying a California law that requires anti-abortion crisis pregnancy centers to provide patients with notices giving them information about state-provided abortion and family-planning services likely violates the First Amendment.

The court split 5-4 along ideological lines in the case, which sat at the intersection of free speech and abortion. Justice Clarence Thomas wrote the opinion, and was joined by Chief Justice John Roberts, Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch, and Anthony Kennedy.

In the opinion, Thomas wrote that the law violated free speech because it forced pregnancy centers, which exist for the purpose of dissuading abortion, to tell patients about the practice they are devoted to opposing. The law, he wrote, “alters the content” of the speech the centers are trying to advance.

He wrote that speech must be open to different ideas and positions, and that “the people lose when the government is the one deciding which ideas should prevail.” California had not “identified a persuasive reason” for the law, he wrote, saying that the state had other ways of informing women about the services they offer.