Freedom of (lack of) Speech

On Monday, the Supreme Court agreed to hear a case regarding the right of Christian, non profit, “crisis pregnancy centers” (you know, the ones that masquerade as legitimate medical facilities, and pressure vulnerable women into carrying unwanted pregnancies to term), and their First Amendment rights.

These organizations, represented by the Alliance Defending Freedom argue that a 2015 California law that requires them to let women know about abortion and other family planning services (birth control) is coerced speech, and therefore violates their first amendment rights. They say that information about abortion is “everywhere”, and that the state requiring them to provide it, even though they actively counsel against it, is unconstitutional.

If this decision were to go in their favor, it would make it incredibly difficult for democratic states to regulate these centers. However, it would also make it difficult for those on the right to impose regulations on abortion clinics within their states.

It’s interesting that the Court chose to take this case, considering they declined to hear an extremely similar one in 2014.

The justices present on the court haven’t changed all that much, however, the overall political climate has shifted quite a bit. Three years ago, this wasn’t a topic that the Supreme Court deemed worthy of being addressed; but now it is, and that scares me,

In my opinion, it’s a good thing that the Supreme Court doesn’t exist in a vacuum, and that justices are impacted by evolving political climates, but as much as this can lead to progress, and can also lead to seriously unfortunate consequences.
I fear for the coming years, as Trump is given the opportunity to appoint more justices, which will undoubtedly shift the balance of the Court, and lead to decisions like Roe v. Wade being overturned.

One thought on “Freedom of (lack of) Speech

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  1. I think you are correct that we are in for some dark days in terms of abortion rights law. I cannot help but notice that as the Executive & Legislative branches seek to limit the First Amendment to achieve political aims (whether we are talking about attacks on the media, prosecution of protesters and laws limiting protesters’ rights, to the egregious assault on religious freedom in the form of the Muslim ban), the Judiciary seems poised to limit other constitutionally protected rights (and norms of democracy) in the name of protecting Free Speech.

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