Supreme Court Objects to California Crisis Pregnancy Center Law

The law requiring all pregnancy centers to include information on abortion is under fire for seemingly violating free speech.

A California law targeting crisis pregnancy centers on the rocks after the United States Supreme Court expressed deep skepticism on Tuesday about its constitutionality.

Justices across the political spectrum showed concerns over 2015 law that requires all pregnancy centers to disclose information on abortion to clients, casting doubt that it would ultimately be upheld. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the law in October 2016, declaring it “professional speech.”

A specific portion of the law could put it at risk: the requirement that centers provide state disclosures with contact information about abortion services in up to 13 languages. Justices Anthony Kennedy, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor referred to that portion as burdensome.

“It seems to me that is an undue burden…and that should be enough to invalidate the statute,” Kennedy said in court, Politico reports.

San Francisco is home to three crisis pregnancy centers, which have a presence in the broader Bay Area as well. They generally exist to steer women away from abortion and are criticized for misleading patients away from the complete picture of pregnancy options.

Last month, Abortion Care Network launched ads in the region to fire back at the existing centers, including one in North Beach. The ads called for pregnant patients to receive medically-accurate information, not deception.

The city has its own 2011 law aimed at crisis pregnancy centers that was also upheld by the 9th Circuit in June. First Resort center, which challenged the law, appealed and the Supreme Court may decide to take it up — though its ruling on the state law would impact the local law.

San Francisco, Oakland, Santa Clara County and Los Angeles with friends in New York and Baltimore submitted friend-of-the-court briefs supporting the law, Bay City News reports.

The Supreme Court is expected to reach a decision by June.

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