Recently, the Supreme Court ruled against a California law stating that pregnancy centers should be forced to promote abortions, marking a huge win for the pro-life movement and offering hope to the culture of life in the United States.
In reality, this decision reflects much more than just hope. The Supreme Court decision marks a clear and explicit stance taken in favor of freedom of speech for all, which especially benefits the pro-life movement since society tries to deny this freedom so often to pro-lifers. Too often, American culture promotes pro-abortion views subtly and as a given—truthfully, as just another inherent part of culture— whereas a pro-life message promoted in the same manner would be considered by media outlets and voices as offensive and contrary to freedom. This decision represents a just balance in speech and representation by preventing individuals and businesses to promote certain messages.
Interestingly enough, the Supreme Court addressed this type of cultural problem exactly in their decision, stating that forcing certain people to represent a certain message means “altering the content of [their] speech” and allowing this measure would create a government that forces a message or belief to prevail above another, which clearly violates the freedom of speech. Whether the force comes through a government law at a pregnancy center, an academic institution’s political sway, or even pressure to conform out of fear of being ostracized in environments like Hollywood, the force always amounts to the control of speech and the control of thought and belief.
Michael Farris, of the Alliance Defending Freedom, further elaborated that “a government that tells you what you can’t say is dangerous, but a government that tells you what you must say—under threat of severe punishment—is alarming.” Pro-lifers and those holding conservative values in general have been accused time and time again of forcing their beliefs on others and limiting their freedom, which is promoted even in the preference of the label “pro-choice” over “pro-abortion.” The Supreme Court decision sends a message to the nation that to be pro-life is not to be against choice or against freedom, but instead signifies the promotion of the goodness of the woman as well as the fetal child.
Let’s hope that a ruling on freedom of speech in the pro-life realm opens up discussion and opportunity for the pro-life movement to voice their opinions and convictions and be heard as a movement in favor of freedom, not against freedom.