On Tuesday, the Supreme Court heard the first abortion-related case of the Trump Administration. The National Institute of Family and Life Advocates (NIFLA) v. Becerra could determine whether or not fake reproductive health centers are allowed to mislead patients about their legitimacy as health centers and what kinds of medical services they provide.
At issue is a California law requiring fake health clinics, otherwise known as crisis pregnancy centers, to disclose that they are not licensed medical providers and to post notices providing information about California’s public programs offering access to family planning, prenatal care, and abortion services. The fake clinics argue that this is a violation of their right to free speech. The law has already been upheld by federal courts.
California’s law represents an effort to curb the proliferation of anti-abortion, faith-based fake health clinics and address the public health threat posed by their deceptive practices. Fake clinics frequently pose as comprehensive women’s health centers and advertise under “abortion” and “family planning” services, but do not offer abortions, contraception, or referrals, and have been repeatedly shown to provide false or misleading information about reproductive health services.
If the Court does strike down the law, it could hurt efforts to expose fake clinics, but it could also help abortion rights supporters in their attempts to undue state laws requiring doctors to share medically false information to patients seeking abortion.
Media Resources: Huffington Post 3/20/18