The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit [official website] upheld [opinion, PDF] a San Francisco ordinance on Tuesday that was implemented to halt deceptive advertising tactics employed by clinics opposed to abortion. The ordinance targeted [SF Gate report] clinics that offered offered services, including tests and ultrasounds, as a way of dissuading women from terminating their pregnancies. The clinics did not offer abortions, emergency contraception or referrals to other clinics that provide those options. First Resort, a group aimed at creating “an abortion free world,” sued the city asserting that the ordinance violates their First Amendment [LII materials] right to free speech. The ordinance, which was backed by a similar state law introduced by San Francisco Supervisor David Chiu in 2016, was put into affect by Supervisor Malia Cohen [official websites] in 2011.
Unencumbered access to abortion has been a recent issue since President Donald Trump vowed to appoint a Supreme Court justice who will overturn Roe v. Wade. Earlier this month the Supreme Court of Georgia [official website] issued a landmark ruling [JURIST report], holding that the state is immune from litigation unless it consents to being sued, rejecting a challenge to a 20-week abortion ban. Also in June the Delaware legislature approved a bill [JURIST report] that guarantees access to abortion. The same day, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed a series of abortion regulations into law [JURIST report]. In May Trump’s administration announced [JURIST report] plans to expand the so-called Mexico City Policy blocking international family planning assistance through the US Agency for International Development to any groups or programs that provide abortion or abortion education to women. Also in May Trump signed [JURIST report] a bill into law that scales back an Obama administration regulation that protected certain federal funds for organizations that provide abortions, including Planned Parenthood [advocacy website]. In February the US House of Representatives approved a bill [JURIST report] that would overturn the Obama administration’s rule prohibiting states from denying federal funding to Planned Parenthood and passed a bill [JURIST op-ed] that makes permanent restrictions on federal funding abortion. In February the Pennsylvania Senate approved SB 3 [JURIST report], putting Pennsylvania in line to become the seventeenth state to pass a bill banning abortions past 20 weeks.