I don’t believe that the government has the right to force someone to say something. As a nation we have refrained from passing such laws. There is one area where we have made an exception – we force companies to tell us about their products. For example a drug company is forced to tell the side effects and a food company is forced to give information about the ingredients and a doctor is forced to tell his patients the risks associated with treatment and regular businesses must provide honest information about the specifications of the product they are selling. This is known as “professional speech” and is treated differently by virtue of its intended purpose.
In California they passed a law forcing organizations that provide services to pregnant women to include abortion as an option. This law targets pro-life organizations that are in place to promote adoption or raising the child with assistance. To include abortion in their recommendations is to force them to do something that is the exact opposite of the reason they exist. It’s like forcing a Catholic to give you information on the Jehovah’s Witnesses before you convert to Catholicism.
The Supreme Court ruled yesterday that this law was unconstitutional over turning the 9th Circuit ruling. The majority opinion states, “Although the licensed notice is content based, the Ninth Circuit did not apply strict scrutiny because it concluded that the notice regulates “professional speech.”” But the majority of justices concluded that it wasn’t professional speech so the higher standard applied. It goes on to say that even so, “Speech is not unprotected merely because it is uttered by “professionals.”” The ruling goes on to explain the various times in which the court has protected professionals’ speech and that it only rarely compelled speech (on just a couple of cases).
The ruling actually goes on to say, “Throughout history, governments have “manipulat[ed] the content of doctor-patient discourse” to increase state power and suppress minorities.” That’s an amazing thing to say in my opinion. It all but admits that Planned Parenthood exists to suppress minorities. Before you say I’m connecting dots that aren’t there – I admit as much. I am just speculating here but it certainly does go hand in hand with that belief. The ruling goes on with more examples and highlights of the importance of free speech. In this case the ruling is really worth your time to read just to hear that at least some of the justices understand the importance of free speech and its connection with tyranny and oppression.
The court ruled that California was unable to make a case that the speech should be forced and that there was a sufficient state interest in doing so. Though California argued that their goal was to help poor women the court ruled that the fact that the law only targeted a small number of clinics meant that it came no where close to that goal and California was unable to articulate that poor women having this information was of great importance to the state itself.
As you can imagine the same four justices that always side in favor of traditionally leftist ideas (like unfettered abortion) gave the dissenting opinion. In this case, unlike the case of the Trump travel restrictions, the matter is as clear. In that case I find it stunning that anyone could possibly not see the law for what it was. In this case there is a narrow area where speech has been compelled in the past but as the majority points out this case just doesn’t meet the standard required to infringe on someones 1st Amendment rights.
I’ve included the full ruling as a PDF for you to read if you are interested in the nitty gritty details.Abortion Information Decision