National Institute of Family & Life Advocates v. Becerra
This case involves a challenge to a California law requiring clinics that offer pregnancy-related services but do not offer abortion or other medical care that is available elsewhere to make disclosures concerning the limited services they offer and the availability of more comprehensive care, with public funding, elsewhere. Anti-abortion groups challenged the law and when their claims were rejected by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, successfully petitioned for review of the case by the Supreme Court. Public Citizen filed an amicus curiae brief supporting the state. The brief argued that “content-based” speech restrictions are not necessarily subject to strict First Amendment scrutiny, and that the disclosure requirements here should be subject to a more permissive standard of review similar to that applicable to commercial speech. Under that standard, requirements that facilities offering professional services make disclosures that are relevant to clients’ decisions whether to use those services are permissible under the First Amendment. On June 25, 2018, the Supreme Court ruled, in a 5-4 decision, that the California law was “likely” unconstitutional because the disclosure requirements did not in the majority’s view serve a substantial state interest.