Supreme Court Sends Us To A Fake Abortion Clinic Without Even A Kiss
Well, it was a bloodbath at SCOTUS this morning. Mitch McConnell's gambit to break the Senate so he could break the courts paid off BIGLY. In two 5-4 decisions, Justice Gorsuch and his pals played the popular Republican game of seeking out a technical justification, no matter how flimsy, to give conservatives a "win." Let's do a quick rundown of this first pile of jurisprudential horseshit about abortion, and then go take ten or twelve antacids before tackling the Travel Ban.
WISH US LUCK.
We are old enough to remember when SCOTUS ruled that forcing doctors to tell women a bunch of scary shit to try to deter them going through with an abortion was no abridgment on speech. We are old enough to remember when forcing a minor to get permission from her parents for an abortion was totally cool. We're old enough to remember when forcing women to view an ultrasound and then sign a paper attesting same was just fine.
But that was then, and this is Gorsuch. Today the five conservative justices ruled that California's law requiring Crisis Pregnancy Centers to post a notice that the state provides low-cost contraceptive and abortion services is a burden on free speech that WILL NOT STAND. But really, Justice Thomas, who authored the opinion, wasn't even trying to pretend that this was about anything but the conservative war on a woman's right to an abortion.
The notice in no way relates to the services that licensed clinics provide. Instead, it requires these clinics to disclose information about state-sponsored services— including abortion, anything but an "uncontroversial" topic.
He even quotes a 1994 Boston Law Review article to liken California's legislatively-mandated mention of abortion to Nazis and China's coercive one-child policy.
For example, during the Cultural Revolution, Chinese physicians were dispatched to the countryside to convince peasants to use contraception.
Yeah, we're going to stop there for a minute to let you figure out on your own why that is "bad," because we don't actually know.
[...] In Nazi Germany, the Third Reich systematically violated the separation between state ideology and medical discourse. German physicians were taught that they owed a higher duty to the 'health of the Volk' than to the health of individual patients. Recently, Nicolae Ceausescu's strategy to increase the Romanian birth rate included prohibitions against giving advice to patients about the use of birth control devices and disseminating information about the use of condoms as a means of preventing the transmission of AIDS.
Not for nothing, but the quoted article appears to endorse an opposite position from Thomas's. But what's a little intellectual dishonesty when you're using a stolen Justice to destroy abortion rights, right? In Justice Thomas's world, forcing facilities to post a list of comprehensive women's healthcare is Nazism. In fact, forcing crisis pregnancy centers to post notice that they have no licensed medical personnel on staff is a tyrannical violation of the First Amendment.
The unlicensed notice imposes a government-scripted, speaker-based disclosure requirement that is wholly disconnected from California's informational interest. It requires covered facilities to post California's precise notice, no matter what the facilities say on site or in their advertisements.
Justice Breyer, in his dissent, pointed out that the majority decision was broad enough to make the most mundane requirements to post licensing illegal.
Virtually every disclosure law could be considered "content based," for virtually every disclosure law requires individuals "to speak a particular message." See Reed v. Town of Gilbert, 576 U. S. ___, ___ (2015) (BREYER, J., concurring in judgment) (slip op., at 3) (listing regulations that inevitably involve content discrimination, ranging from securities disclosures to signs at petting zoos). Thus, the majority's view, if taken literally, could radically change prior law, perhaps placing much securities law or consumer protection law at constitutional risk, depending on how broadly its exceptions are interpreted.
Is it now illegal for the Fire Inspector to require weight limit signs in elevators? Who knows! But Mitch McConnell got to stick it to the LIbs, so WORTH IT!
PSA: If we take back the Senate, the GOP won't be able to appoint any more Federalist Society hacks to murder American jurisprudence.
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Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.