Agudath Israel of America joined other groups yesterday in submitting an amicus curiae (friend of the court) brief in a case before the United States Supreme Court that could have important ramifications for religious individuals and organizations.
The case, National Institute of Family and Life Advocates v. Becerra, involves a California statute that requires all health care facilities, including facilities that oppose and do not provide abortions as a matter of religious belief, to advertise prominently that abortions are available to those seeking them and informing the readers how to obtain them.
The brief argues that this law is a violation of the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, in that it compels religious practitioners to publicly disseminate information that, as a matter of religious belief, they oppose. The brief points out that the issue here is not just whether pregnancy centers have to publicize that abortions are available, but the fundamental question as to whether government should be allowed to compel religious practitioners as to “what they must say” on a whole host of issues that violate their own religious beliefs. The brief urges the Court to overturn the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision that upheld the California law, and to hold that government may not compel religious practitioners to propagate positions that they do not themselves belief in.