Crisis Pregnancy Centers (CPCs) are antiabortion organizations that seek to “intercept” people with unintended pregnancies to convince them to forego abortion. It is well documented that CPCs intentionally present themselves as medical professionals even when they lack licensure, while also providing medically inaccurate information on abortion. To combat the blatant deception committed by CPCs, California passed the Reproductive FACT Act in 2015. The Act required CPCs to post notices that disclosed their licensure status and informed potential clients that the state provided subsidized abortion and contraceptives. Soon after, CPCs brought First Amendment challenges to these disclosure requirements, claiming that the state could not compel them to speak a message against their will. In 2018, the Supreme Court decided National Institute of Family and Life Advocates (NIFLA) v. Becerra and constitutionalized CPCs’ efforts to evade regulation from state-mandated compelled disclosures—disclosures not dissimilar to those regularly imposed on other businesses and medical professionals.
Although CPCs use the guise of professionalism to increase their credibility, they are not held to the same standards as actual medical professionals. States can force abortion providers to violate ethical codes by requiring them to give patients medically inaccurate information as “informed consent,” yet CPCs cannot be compelled to say anything because they are not real professionals. This Note argues that while there are striking parallels between abortion-related informed consent laws and compelled informational disclosures like the CPC disclosures at issue in NIFLA, the Court has refused to treat pro-choice speech in a manner similar to antiabortion speech. Moreover, though NIFLA has drastically limited the types of CPC regulations that pro-choice governments can implement, there are still ways in which these states can and should curb CPCs’ deceptive practices.
Reclaiming Access to Truth in Reproductive Healthcare After National Institute of Family & Life Advocates v. Becerra,
Mich. L. Rev.
Available at: https://repository.law.umich.edu/mlr/vol119/iss1/5