It's been a bad day for Supreme Court rulings. The SCOTUS ruled to uphold Trump's Islamophobic travel ban, and also ruled that religiously-affiliated anti-abortion organizations are allowed to keep information about abortion options from their clients.
In a 5 to 4 vote, an all-male majority voted to reverse California's Reproductive FACT (Freedom, Accountability, Comprehensive Care and Transparency) Act. Created in 2015, the act required often religiously-affiliated "crisis pregnancy centers" to inform their pregnant visitors about publicly-funded abortion, contraceptive, and prenatal care options and to clarify whether or not the center is a licensed medical facility. The act was especially important for low income women, who may not otherwise be aware of inexpensive and accessible resources available to them. It also attempted to counter allegations that crisis pregnancy centers use deceptive practices, including having unlicensed people dress up like medical professionals.
The case was described as pitting the centers' First Amendment right to free speech against women's right to correct and comprehensive medical information. Conservative Justice Clarence Thomas wrote that the FACT Act "targets speakers, not speech, and imposes an unduly budensome disclosure requirement that will chill their protected speech."
The case was previously upheld by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, at which time Judge Dorothy W. Nelson wrote, "The notice informs the reader only of the existence of publicly funded family-planning services. It does not contain any more speech than necessary, nor does it encourage, suggest or imply that women should use those state-funded services."
The Cut reports that there are 2,700 crisis pregnancy centers in the country, but only 800 abortion clinics, meaning women who are not informed about their options or live in rural or underserved areas are more likely to end up being offered a limited range of options at crisis pregnancy centers.
Image via Getty