The following was written by David French for National Review. To read the full article, click here.
Late yesterday afternoon, I filed an amicus brief in one of the most dangerous free-speech cases in a generation. For the second time this term, the Supreme Court is considering whether the government can compel Americans to express or support ideas they find repugnant. The first case, Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, was the talk of the nation. This case, National Institute of Family and Life Advocates (NIFLA) v. Becerra, has almost entirely escaped public attention.
That’s a mistake. If anything, the violation of the First Amendment in the NIFLA case is more egregious, and the implications potentially more far-reaching. As readers almost certainly recall, the issue in Masterpiece Cakeshop was whether the state of Colorado could compel a Christian baker to design a cake for a gay wedding. One of the state’s principal arguments against the baker’s First Amendment claim was that designing a custom cake wasn’t an expressive act, so forcing him to design a cake wasn’t compelled speech.
The NIFLA case, however, is unquestionably about compelled speech. The state of California has enacted a law, the so-called FACT Act, that requires pro-life crisis-pregnancy centers to prominently place a notice informing clients that California offers low-cost and even free abortions to women who qualify and providing them a phone number that grants quick access to abortion clinics.
In other words, California is requiring pro-life professionals — people who’ve dedicated their lives to protecting the unborn by offering pregnant mothers alternatives to abortion — to advertise state-sponsored abortions. California is making this demand even though it has ample opportunity to advertise state services without forcing pro-life citizens to do so. The state can rent billboard space on the very streets where crisis-pregnancy centers are located. It can hand out leaflets on the sidewalk. It can advertise on television and the radio. It can advertise on the Internet or social media. But rather than using its own voice, it is co-opting the voices of its pro-life citizens, forcing them to join its pro-abortion crusade.
To read the full article, click here.