National Institute of Family and Life Advocates v. Becerra

Summarized by:

  • Court: United States Supreme Court
  • Area(s) of Law: First Amendment
  • Date Filed: June 26, 2018
  • Case #: 16-1140
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: THOMAS, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which ROBERTS, C.J., and KENNEDY, ALITO, and GORSUCH, JJ. joined. KENNEDY, J., filed a concurring opinion, in which ROBERTS, C. J., and ALITO and GORSUCH, JJ., joined. BREYER, J., filed dissenting opinion, in which GINSBURG, SOTOMAYOR, and KAGAN, JJ., joined.
  • Full Text Opinion

The California Reproductive Freedom, Accountability, Comprehensive Care, and Transparency Act's notification requirements likely violate the First Amendment.

The California Reproductive Freedom, Accountability, Comprehensive Care, and Transparency Act (FACT Act) requires “licensed covered facilities” to notify women of all low-cost services provided by the State of California, including abortions, and provide contact information. It also requires “unlicensed covered facilities” to notify women that the facility is not licensed to provide medical services. Petitioners challenged the act under the First Amendment. The District Court denied Petitioners’ motion for preliminary injunction and the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed. The Supreme Court reversed holding “that [P]etitioners are likely to succeed on the merits of their claim that the FACT Act violates the First Amendment.” The Court reasoned that strict scrutiny should apply to the licensed notice and did not recognize the “professional speech” exception that the Ninth Circuit applied. The Court pointed out that there are other facilities which provide the same services as the “licensed covered facilities” which are not required to provide notice under the FACT Act because their primary purpose is not providing pregnancy and family planning related services. The Court doubted whether California’s interests are legitimate or if anti-abortion viewpoints are being targeted. The Court concluded that California has not met their burden of proving that the notice requirement for “unlicensed covered facilities” is not “unjustified and unduly burdensome” and that their justifications are “purely hypothetical.” REVERSED and REMANDED. 

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