Credit: Stephanie Rudig

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The Supreme Court on Tuesday reversed a lower court ruling that supported a California law requiring unlicensed crisis pregnancy centers to disclose that they don’t employ licensed medical professionals to oversee procedures.

Writing for the 5-4 majority, Judge Clarence Thomas said that the California law, called the Reproductive Freedom, Accountability, Comprehensive Care and Transparency Act, “imposes an unduly burdensome disclosure requirement that will chill [the pregnancy centers’] protected speech.”

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The Reproductive FACT Act targeted so-called “crisis pregnancy centers” in California, which pro-choice advocates say use deceptive, misleading, and factually inaccurate information to dissuade or terrify women out of having abortions. The law required those facilities––of which there are an estimated 2,700 across the country––to disclose that they’re not licensed medical facilities, if they aren’t, and to disclose that the state provides free or inexpensive prenatal care to women, if they are.

In February, City Paper reported on two D.C.-based crisis pregnancy centers, Northwest Pregnancy Center and Capitol Hill Pregnancy Center. Unlike California, D.C. does not require crisis pregnancy centers to tell clients that they’re not licensed medical facilities. 

City Paper reported:

The student who called Capitol Hill Pregnancy Center said that his girlfriend was pregnant and that he didn’t want her to go through with an abortion.

“At six weeks, the baby already has fingers and toes and fingernails and toenails,” someone at Capitol Hill told him over the phone. “And at 10 weeks, the baby can actually feel pain and sometimes I think we don’t even realize how early on those things are formed.”

There is virtually no scientific evidence that a fetus can feel pain at 10 weeks. […]

In addition to pamphlets on parenting skills and adoption information similar to those found at Northwest, this table includes pamphlets like “What Does God Say About Abortions?” and  “Before You Decide,” which details some scientifically contested information on abortion risks, such as a link between abortion and breast cancer.

NARAL Pro-Choice America President Ilyse Hogue released a statement Tuesday saying that “fake women’s health centers, with the rest of the well-funded and well-connected anti-choice movement, have been working towards this moment for decades.”