A California state law that required so-called crisis pregnancy centers to give women information about abortion was blocked today by the Supreme Court in a 5-4 decision, led by the Court’s conservative justices.
The law stated that centers statewide should give women the option of abortion, but organizations like The National Institute of Family and Life Advocates, involved in this case, counsel women and try to persuade them to either keep the child or put the baby up for adoption.
According to The New York Times, the law also required “the centers to post notices that free or low-cost abortion, contraception and prenatal care are available to low-income women through public programs, and to provide the phone number for more information.”
The organizations argued that requiring them to share information on abortion violated their civil rights. California had previously found that the anti-abortion centers used “intentionally deceptive advertising and counseling practices that often confuse, misinform, and even intimidate women from making fully-informed, time-sensitive decisions about critical health care.”
Part of that was requiring that those clinics make it clear to women who seek their that they are not state-licensed facilities and have no medical personnel to supervise any of the services or counsel they are given.
According to NPR:
And just as some states provide taxpayer funds for abortions, 14 states directly fund anti-abortion pregnancy centers. From 2001 to 2006, the centers received an estimated $30 million in federal funding.
There is no data on how many of the 2,700 anti-abortion pregnancy centers are unlicensed. But unlicensed clinics offer pregnancy tests, limited ultrasounds, and, to an unskeptical eye, they can look very much like a licensed medical facility.
The personnel wear surgical scrubs or white coats and ask clients to fill out medical history questionnaires. Indeed, many clinics locate next to or across the street from a full service women’s reproductive health center and some use similar sounding names.