Tags: nifla v becerra | supreme court | pregnancy center | prolife

SCOTUS Gives America a Free Speech, Pro-Life Birthday Gift

SCOTUS Gives America a Free Speech, Pro-Life Birthday Gift
Pro-life and anti-abortion advocates demonstrate in front of the Supreme Court early Monday, June 25, 2018. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

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Wednesday, 27 June 2018 10:47 AM Current | Bio | Archive

Just days away from the birthday of our nation’s independence, the Supreme Court handed a victory to the fundamental rights which America promised to guarantee at its inception. The Freedom of Speech was again protected in the case of NIFLA vs. Becerra, a case regarding a California law which told pro-life pregnancy centers, which exist to lead people away from abortion, that they had to help people find abortion by advertising it!

I was particularly gratified by the decision, though the Court was as divided as it could be, not only because it is a victory for the pro-life cause, but because for the last quarter-century, I have come to know and to labor side by side with the petitioners in this case. Priests for Life was also proud to submit a Friend of the Court brief in this case.

NIFLA, the National Institute of Family and Life Advocates, represents and serves pregnancy centers, and the self-sacrificing men and women, by the tens of thousands, from coast to coast staff those centers day in and day out. I have visited hundreds of such centers in the course of my pro-life work, blessing the facilities, giving training and spiritual guidance to those who run them, and being inspired by their stories of lives saved and hearts healed. In the course of a single year, pregnancy centers serve a couple of million people and their volunteer work saves local communities over $100 million in costs.

In the NIFLA case, the Supreme Court pointed out that the Freedom of Speech, including the kind of speech implicated by California’s law in this case, requires protection under the highest standard of the court’s review, namely, strict scrutiny, which says that the government cannot infringe on a basic right unless its action is the least restrictive way to advance a compelling government interest. What is instructive here is that the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, from which the case came, had not even applied the test! They were making a false distinction between “professional speech” and non-professional speech, but the Supreme Court said that speech isn’t less protected if spoken by a professional. So they said, in effect, go back and apply the test, and when you do, the law being challenged will likely not pass it.

There’s an interesting similarity here with the recently decided Masterpiece Cakeshop case in which a baker in Colorado would not design a custom wedding cake for a same-sex wedding ceremony. Like in the NIFLA case, the Court did not even reach the question of judging the case on its merits, because it found that the baker’s fundamental freedoms were not respected in the earlier stages of the case — in this instance, by the Colorado Civil Rights Commission.

And the rights in both cases are similar. A person cannot be compelled to speak a message with which he or she fundamentally disagrees, or act against convictions which he or she sincerely holds. The government cannot change the content of your speech. It may say you can stand here to speak but not there, or set a level on the decibels of your speech or the size of your sign, but it must be neutral about the content. A law can’t tell Alcoholics Anonymous to advertise the local liquor store, a pro-life center to advertise abortion, or a baker to express his creative skills in support of a ceremony he considers immoral.

Respect for truth and freedom go hand in hand. An appreciation of the truth, and its power to attract the human mind and heart, leads one to understand that it does not have to be imposed, but rather proposed; it does not advance by force, but by persuasion. It is not threatened by the fact that those who disagree can also speak. The temptation to impose an idea by force increases if one is afraid that the idea itself is falling into disfavor or not widely accepted. That’s why Rep. Maxine Waters (D – CA) urged protestors this past weekend to “push back” on people in the Trump Administration and tell them “they’re not welcome anymore, anywhere.”

Americans are more and more uncomfortable with abortion today than ever. Interestingly, on the very day that the Supreme Court issued its decision in the NIFLA case, an abortionist in New York City, Robert Rho, was sentenced to a prison term for killing one of his patients. And these tragedies are rampant in the abortion industry. But they don’t want us to know the atrocities going on in abortion clinics. Instead, they want to focus the battle on the pro-life pregnancy centers. But pro-life, pro-freedom Americans should take heart. No lie can live forever. Happy Birthday, America! Let freedom ring!

Fr. Frank Pavone is one of the most prominent pro-life leaders in the world. He became a Catholic priest in 1988 under Cardinal John O’Connor in New York. In 1993 he became National Director of Priests for Life. He is also the President of the National Pro-life Religious Council, and the National Pastoral Director of the Silent No More Campaign and of Rachel’s Vineyard, the world’s largest ministry of healing after abortion. He travels to about four states every week, preaching and teaching against abortion. He broadcasts regularly on television, radio, and internet. He was asked by Mother Teresa to speak in India on abortion, and was asked by then-candidate Donald Trump to serve on his Pro-life and Catholic advisory councils. He has served at the Vatican as an official of the Pontifical Council for the Family, which coordinates the pro-life activities of the Catholic Church. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.

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The Freedom of Speech was again protected in the case of NIFLA vs. Becerra, a case regarding a California law which told pro-life pregnancy centers, which exist to lead people away from abortion, that they had to help people find abortion by advertising it!
nifla v becerra, supreme court, pregnancy center, prolife
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Wednesday, 27 June 2018 10:47 AM
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