A Victory for Life, and for Free Speech

by David French

I hate to interrupt the debt-limit discussions, but there is breaking news in the fight for life and for free speech. Literally moments ago, Judge William Pauley of the Southern District of New York enjoined a series of mandatory, onerous “disclosures” New York City had imposed on pro-life pregnancy service centers. These disclosures essentially required pregnancy service centers to warn away their own potential visitors.

The city tried to justify these mandatory disclosures — a form of compelled speech imposed on pro-life non-profits — by arguing that the service centers’ pro-life speech was a form of “commercial speech” because the centers gave away diapers, formula, and other items to aid young mothers. The city also argued that pro-life speech was “commercial speech” because it gave the center an opportunity to raise funds. Under such reasoning, free speech by nonprofits would essentially disappear. Interestingly, the New York Civil Liberties Union actually backed the city’s astoundingly speech-restrictive argument, a decision that Judge Pauley called “puzzling.”

Congratulations to my American Center for Law and Justice colleagues on a job well done.

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