Pro choice advocates face free speech challenges

Elizabeth Nolan Brown, Reason, June 23,2022, writes that given the history of ads about abortion, free speech concerning those ads is destined to become a major issue given the recent Supreme Court decision over turning Roe v. Wade. Even after the Supreme Court ruled in Virginia v. Bigelow that bans on ads for abortion services violated the First Amendment, laws remained on the books. One problem likely to arise concerns social media platforms running pro-choice information. States like Texas may claim that the platforms are “aiding and abetting” the illegal act of abortion.

Lynn Greenky in Ms., June 17, 2022, argues that in his majority opinion in overturning Roe v. Wade, Justice Samuel Alito said that the decision to retain or end a pregnancy was inherently political so up to state legislatures to allow or disallow abortion. Political speech has long been affirmed by courts even if it is immoral or upsetting. Greenky writes, “If speech regarding abortion choices is essentially political, attempts to criminalize it are censorship. Censorship is kryptonite to democracy and for that reason is subject to the strongest legal assault. Of course, it might be wise to script such discussions to include keywords that implicate the political nature of the discussion, such as, ‘Let’s discuss your options regarding the exercise of your right to choose to terminate a pregnancy in a jurisdiction that protects that right.'”

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