A Statement from Center for Arizona Policy President Cathi Herrod
In National Institute of Family and Life Advocates v. Becerra, a win that gives free speech life, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a California law that forced pro-life pregnancy resource centers to advertise for abortion. The pregnancy centers were represented by Alliance Defending Freedom.
No one should be forced by the government to express a message that violates their convictions, especially on deeply divisive subjects such as abortion. Today’s decision is a win for all who value the First Amendment’s guarantee of free speech. Respect for differences of opinions are essential to preserving freedom and diversity in our nation.
As Justice Clarence Thomas wrote in the 5-4 majority opinion, “the people lose when the government is the one deciding which ideas should prevail.”
Similarly, Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in his concurring opinion, “Governments must not be allowed to force persons to express a message contrary to their deepest convictions. Freedom of speech secures freedom of thought and belief. This law imperils those liberties.”
At Center for Arizona Policy, we joined 40 other family policy organizations in an amici curiae brief drafted by David French in support of the pregnancy centers. In the brief, French concluded:
“Compelled speech is not the answer to cultural conflict. This court must not render professionals second-class citizens with diminished constitutional rights. There are few state actions more repugnant to the consciences of sincere, pro-life citizens than demanding that they advertise free or low-cost access to the deadly procedure they work so mightily to oppose.”
Detailed information on the case is available at Alliance Defending Freedom.
Center for Arizona Policy promotes and defends the foundational values of life, marriage and family, and religious freedom. For more information, visit azpolicy.org.