Washington • The Supreme Court says a California law that forces anti-abortion crisis pregnancy centers to provide information about abortion probably violates the Constitution.
The 5-4 ruling Tuesday also casts doubts on similar laws in Hawaii and Illinois.
The California law took effect in 2016. It requires centers that are licensed by the state to tell clients about the availability of contraception, abortion and pre-natal care, at little or no cost.
Centers that are unlicensed have to post a sign that said so. The court struck down that portion of the law.
The centers said they were singled out and forced to deliver a message with which they disagreed. California said the law was needed to let poor women know all their options.
Justice Clarence Thomas said in his majority opinion said the centers “are likely to succeed” in their constitutional challenge to the law.
Justice Stephen Breyer, writing for four liberal dissenters, said among the reasons the law should be upheld is that the high court has previously upheld state laws requiring doctors to tell women seeking abortions about adoption services. “After all, the law must be evenhanded,” Breyer said.