Reproductive Rights Activists Aren’t Backing Down After NIFLA

Activists took to the streets Tuesday in protest of the Supreme Court’s ruling in National Institute of Family and Life Advocates (NIFLA) v. Becerra, which deemed a California law requiring so-called crisis pregnancy centers to disclose to patients if they did not have a licensed medical practitioner on staff and inform them that state-funded abortion care was available. The 5-4 ruling by the Court gave the often religiously-affiliated fake clinics, which also often receive funding from anti-abortion organizations, permission to continue manipulating and deceiving patients.

NARAL Pro-Choice America hosted demonstrations in both San Francisco, California and Washington, D.C. in response to the ruling. Earlier this year, NARAL organized a rally outside of the Supreme Court as part of their #EndTheLies campaign urging justices to uphold laws that exposed fake clinics. Amy Everitt, State Director NARAL Pro-Choice California, led a demonstration at Justin Herman Plaza Tuesday; Ilyse Hogue, President of NARAL Pro-Choice America, organized a protest in front of the Supreme Court building.

“We will organize, we will mobilize the majority in this country to stand up for truth, to stand up for freedom, to stand up for justice, and to stand up for every single woman,” Hogue promised demonstrators in D.C. “End the lies!”

At the rally in San Francisco, Dr. Lealah Pollock, the Assistant Professor of Family and Community Medicine at UCSF and Fellow with Physicians for Reproductive Health, spoke of the importance of trusting and empowering women to make their own medical choices and eliminating CPCs. “These fake women’s health centers lie to patients, they coerce patients, they mislead patients all the time,” she reminded the activists gathered in the plaza. “Good quality healthcare means trusting women. It means giving people the information that they need to make their own decisions about pregnancy and family planning.”

Pollock ended her speech with a rallying cry: “The anti-choice movement isn’t going to give up,” she told the crowd, “and neither are we!”

Christine Pelosi, the Chair of the Women’s Caucus of the California Democratic Party, also noted that the ruling was a reflection of white supremacy and institutionalized racism and sexism—most obviously because the Justices concurring in the case were all male, but also because of the ways in which CPCs target low-income women of color—now, without interference by the legal system that should be protecting them.

Ambassador Eleni Kounalakis touched on this sentiment in her own remarks. “We have to focus on the need to have more women in the highest positions of power,” she said. “Five men decided this ruling today that affects millions of women in this state and elsewhere. This must end with our activism, our commitment and our continued persistence to fight for the change that we know is right. We will continue to fight and fight and fight until we win!”

Indeed, the energy of both crowds Tuesday showcased the intent of reproductive justice activists to persist. In the fact of the Court’s ruling, feminists are not backing down.

“We will not be silenced by hecklers, we won’t be silenced by Donald Trump, we won’t be silenced by anyone,” Pelosi declared as an anti-abortion heckler attempted to talk over her. “Will we?” The crowd of activists—many waving signs that read “expose fake women’s health clinics!”—cheered in response.


Carmiya Baskin is a former editorial intern at Ms. and a third-year Feminist Studies major at UC Santa Barbara. Her work has appeared in The Bottom Line, a student-run newspaper at UCSB, and EqualTalk, a feminist blog she co-founded through a women empowerment and teen leadership organization, Girls Give Back. She is passionate about all things related to intersectional feminism, Harry Potter and Disney, and she enjoys eating peanut butter right out of the jar while binge-watching The Office.