W.Va. AG, 22-State Coalition Successfully Preserve Free Speech Rights of Pro-Life Pregnancy Centers

Updated 1 year ago From a News Release by WV Attorney General Patrick Morrisey
CHARLESTON — West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey and a coalition of 22 states declared victory after the U.S. Supreme Court voted to reverse a lower court decision that infringed upon the free speech rights of pro-life pregnancy centers. 

The 5-4 ruling, issued Tuesday morning, held that a group of pregnancy centers that do not perform abortions are likely to prevail on their claim that they should not be forced to provide information about state-subsidized contraception and abortion.
“A pregnancy center focused on protecting unborn life should never be forced to deliver a message that conflicts with its core values,” Attorney General Morrisey said. “Today’s potentially lifesaving decision will protect the free speech rights of those centers and allow them to continue to counsel women seeking help,”
The coalition contended that the lower court failed to recognize the difference between a California law, which requires pro-life pregnancy centers to provide information about places to obtain a state-funded abortion, and informed consent laws that require physicians to inform patients about all potential benefits, risks and alternatives to specific medical procedures.
Particularly since not all pregnancy centers offer abortions, requiring pro-life facilities to inform patients about places to obtain a state-funded abortion likely violates the First Amendment. Such a message does not provide medical benefits like an informed consent law and contradicts the values of such organizations.
West Virginia joined the Texas-led brief at the Supreme Court with Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah and Wisconsin.
Read a copy of the court’s opinion at http://bit.ly/2Knrejb as well as the coalition’s brief at http://bit.ly/2DafE45.  
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