An attorney representing a pro-life pregnancy in its federal lawsuit against the state of Connecticut says the Supreme Court has already set a precedent for such a case.
Care Net Pregnancy Resource Center of Southeastern Connecticut is challenging a state law that targets pro-life pregnancy centers by forcing them to comply with state-approved speech or face punishment. The law targets pro-life pregnancy centers as "limited services" providers because they do not refer for or perform abortions.
Under the law, the state attorney general has the authority to decide whether Care Net is engaging in "deceptive advertising" because of its life-affirming message based on its religious beliefs. The attorney general can then force the center to adopt "corrective advertising" or face fines and lawsuits. The law excludes from the speech regulation other pregnancy-related centers that only offer "limited services," such as abortion clinics that do not offer prenatal ultrasounds or obstetric services.
"It's the ability of pregnancy centers like Care Net to be able to serve women and offer support without fear of unjust government punishment," says attorney Kevin Theriot of Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), the law firm representing Care Net. "What the government has done here is they've threatened because they don't like their speech, and they've threatened to censor them and forced them to say things they don't want to say because of their pro-life views."
He believes the Supreme Court's ruling in National Institute of Family and Life Advocates (NIFLA) v Becerra impacts this case.
"The Supreme Court said pro-life pregnancy centers cannot be forced to refer for abortion, which is what California was forcing them to do," says Theriot. "Here Connecticut is trying to penalize people like Care Net because they won't refer for abortion, so it's very similar."
In the NIFLA case, the Supreme Court concluded that pro-life pregnancy centers cannot be singled out in such a way.