Last week, the Supreme Court ruled that crisis pregnancy centers in California do not have to relay information about state-offered services, such as abortion, to women. The reasoning behind this is that it supposedly goes against the centers' First Amendment right to free speech. The California law being disputed requires the clinics to share a government-drafted script about the services that the state offers and how to contact them, but since one of those services is abortion, the clinics feel that they should not be forced to promote that option to women because it goes against their religious beliefs.
The conservative Supreme Court Justices agreed with the crisis pregnancy centers and affirmed that freedom of speech protects the clinics from being required to express a message from the government that opposes their beliefs. However, California's law was not meant to take any stance on abortion because
"It makes sense to require the centers to tell patients of the state's offered services because that it is when women are most in need of them, the state contends."
Not only that, but the clinics should not be so quick to claim that they are being forced by the government to push their agenda when the anti-abortion agenda has already been forced onto doctors. In Justice Stephen G. Breyer's dissent for the court's liberals, he referenced the 1992 Supreme Court case of Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey and asked,
"If a state can lawfully require a doctor to tell a woman seeking an abortion about adoption services, why should it not be able, as here, to require a medical counselor to tell a woman seeking prenatal care or other reproductive health care about childbirth and abortion services?"
It is hypocritical for these pro-life pregnancy centers to be adamantly against having to share information that is contrary to their views only because it benefits them personally, but then turning a blind eye to the same situation when the roles are reversed and their opponents are now having to spread their anti-abortion message. I realize that someone who is pro-life would read my thoughts on this and claim that I am also being a hypocrite for the same reasons, except I am upset because this ruling will only keep women in the dark about the options available to them for their pregnancy. This is not about me wanting the crisis pregnancy centers to make sure that women have been presented with the option for abortion because I am pro-choice, but rather that I want women to be given access to all information so that they can then make an informed decision.
These clinics are known for targeting homeless shelters, high schools, and low-income communities where women are less likely to have good healthcare, and they are using this to their advantage by trying to present carrying a pregnancy full-term as their only option. The Supreme Court's ruling only makes this mission even easier to achieve because now the California women entering their clinics could possibly never realize that they can contact their county's social services office and see if they are eligible for a free or low-cost abortion since the clinics would no longer be required to make them aware of this alternative.
The crisis pregnancy centers operate under the claim that they offer support for pregnant women even though they are actually fulfilling their own unethical desire to manipulate vulnerable women into carrying to term so that they can appear heroic and "save a life" that they would likely end up hating if they were born anything but white, male, straight, cis-gendered, and able-bodied.
I understand that the clinics feel it is an abuse of the government's power to have to disclose information about abortion services to women when their religious beliefs tell them to dissuade women from choosing that option, but the doctors that perform abortions that have to tell their patients about adoption services likely feel just as frustrated. In order for women to be able to reach an informed decision about how to proceed with their pregnancy, they have to know all of the information about both sides of the issue. Even though I am strongly opposed to crisis pregnancy centers as a whole, it is not because I want women to believe that abortions are their only option. It is because those centers provide false medical information, disguise themselves as medical buildings and abortion clinics, and take advantage of low-income women.I am pro-choice because I want women to be able to choose what course of action to take for their pregnancy by being given equal access to information about both abortions and adoption. Withholding that information is a massive blow to women's reproductive health and proves that crisis pregnancy centers never considered the well being of women a priority in the first place.