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Nat'l Inst. of Family & Life Advocates v. Becerra

Supreme Court of the United States

March 20, 2018, Argued; June 26, 2018, Decided

No. 16-1140.

Opinion

 [*2368]  Justice Thomas delivered the opinion of the Court.

The California Reproductive Freedom, Accountability, Comprehensive Care, and Transparency Act (FACT Act) requires [***8]  clinics that primarily serve pregnant women to provide certain notices. Cal. Health & Safety Code Ann. §123470 et seq. (West 2018). Licensed clinics must notify women that California provides free or low-cost services, including abortions, and give them a phone number to call. Unlicensed clinics must notify women that California has not licensed the clinics to provide medical services. The question in this case is whether these notice requirements violate the First Amendment.

The California State Legislature enacted the FACT Act to regulate crisis pregnancy centers. Crisis pregnancy centers—according to a report commissioned by the California State Assembly, App. 86—are “pro-life (largely Christian belief-based) organizations that offer a limited range of free pregnancy options, counseling, and other services to individuals that visit a center.” Watters et al., Pregnancy Resource Centers: Ensuring Access and Accuracy of Information 4 (2011). “[U]nfortunately,” the author of the FACT Act stated, “there are nearly 200 licensed and unlicensed” crisis pregnancy centers in California. App. 84. These centers “aim to discourage and prevent women from seeking abortions.” Id., at 85. The author of the FACT Act observed that crisis pregnancy centers “are commonly [***9]  affiliated with, or run by organizations whose stated goal” is to oppose abortion—including “the National Institute of Family and Life Advocates,” one of the petitioners here. Ibid. To address this perceived problem, the FACT Act imposes two notice requirements on facilities that provide pregnancy-related services—one for licensed facilities and one for unlicensed facilities.

 [**844]  1

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138 S. Ct. 2361 *; 201 L. Ed. 2d 835 **; 2018 U.S. LEXIS 4025 ***; 86 U.S.L.W. 4627; 27 Fla. L. Weekly Fed. S 524; 2018 WL 3116336

NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF FAMILY AND LIFE ADVOCATES, dba NIFLA, et al., Petitioners v. XAVIER BECERRA, ATTORNEY GENERAL OF CALIFORNIA, et al.

Notice: The LEXIS pagination of this document is subject to change pending release of the final published version.

Prior History:  [***1] ON WRIT OF CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE NINTH CIRCUIT

Nat'l Inst. of Family & Life Advocates v. Harris, 839 F.3d 823, 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 18515 (9th Cir. Cal., Oct. 14, 2016)

Disposition: 839 F. 3d 823, reversed and remanded.

CORE TERMS

licensed, notice, abortion, disclosure, clinics, unlicensed, pregnancy, patients, advertising, prenatal, woman, childbirth, exempt, contraception, message, content-based, viewpoint, pregnant, medicine, burdensome, pregnancy-related, enroll, pro-life, crisis, unduly, uncontroversial, Reproductive, disclaimer, heightened, low-income

Constitutional Law, Bill of Rights, Fundamental Freedoms, Judicial & Legislative Restraints, Freedom of Speech, Scope, State Application, Commercial Speech, Expressive Conduct, Torts, Malpractice & Professional Liability, Healthcare Law, Medical Treatment, Reproductive Services, Evidence, Burdens of Proof, Allocation