After the Plan B birth control method hit the market in 1999, conservatives argued that carrying the drug they mistook for the abortion pill, “must be left to the pharmacy.” In their view, it violates the “pharmacist’s right of conscience,” tied to the First Amendment, if pharmacies are required to offer a Plan B.
The protection of conscience also applies to other forms of contraception. Since the late 1980s, Republican lawmakers have written legislation to protect pharmacists from dispensing traditional contraceptives, claiming that conscientious conviction has replaced women’s right to contraception. Today, six states allows pharmacists to refuse to dispense contraceptives, even though Plan B is considered “gold standard“Reaction in case of rape.
Anti-abortion crisis pregnancy centers have also been defended by concerns about free speech. As states passed legislation to regulate such centers, the National Institute for Families and Advocates of Life took a free speech case all the way to the Supreme Court in 2018. And win.
Equally alarming, in decision in 2014 in the Burwell v. Interests, the court ruled that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 allowed large, for-profit corporations to deny contraceptive coverage to their female employees based on the public owners’ religious objections. company. Although the ruling only applies to the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive mandate, in a scathing dissent written by Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg, she noted the “astonishing breadth” surprise” and the extreme extent of the opinion, which she said the court cannot “pretend” to be required or required by the First Amendment’s free-enforcement provision.
What’s different today is that, post-Roe, the stakes have changed. More Americans do not have access to abortion than in the past, and access to abortion involves access to information. That’s where anti-abortion groups are finding an edge.
Ro’s death has made at least some abortion enemies rethink their proclaimed love of free speech. The National Commission on the Right to Life has also proposed a model law that defines “supporting or instigating” abortion including the statement “encouraging or facilitating abortion efforts”. illegal abortion.” But conservative lawmakers don’t even need the new law: Most states already have criminal assistance or instigator laws, and prosecutors can apply the law to whistleblowers pregnant.
This could be an issue in Mississippi, where the attorney general’s office recently sent out subpoenas (possibly a prelude to criminal charges) for Mayday Health, a health education nonprofit that placed billboards directing women to a website with information about medical abortions.