Morrisey, other states defend free speech rights of pro-life pregnancy centers

By Kyla Asbury | Jan 17, 2018

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey  

CHARLESTON — West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey and a coalition of 22 states urged the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse a lower court decision that infringes upon the free speech rights of pro-life pregnancy centers.

The brief, filed Jan. 16, argues pregnancy centers that do not perform abortions should not be forced to provide information about state-subsidized contraception and abortion.

“I support and defend life at all stages,” Morrisey said. “A pregnancy center focused on protecting the unborn and offering help to women should not be forced to promote a message that conflicts with its mission.”

The coalition contends that the lower court failed to recognize the difference between a California law, which requires pro-life pregnancy centers to provide information about places to obtain a state-funded abortion, and informed consent laws that require physicians to inform patients about all potential benefits, risks and alternatives to specific medical procedures.

Particularly since not all pregnancy centers offer abortions, requiring pro-life facilities to inform patients about places to obtain a state-funded abortion violates the First Amendment, according to a press release issue by the Attorney General’s office.

Such a message does not provide medical benefits like an informed consent law and contradicts the values of such organizations.

West Virginia joined the Texas-led brief with Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah and Wisconsin.

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