Fulwider v. Senior
What's at Stake
The American Civil Liberties Union challenged a Florida law that requires any person or organization that advises a woman seeking an abortion to provide her with state-mandated information — and in the case of a minor, to notify her parents. People and groups affected by the law would be required to register as an “abortion referral or counseling agency” with the Florida’s agency for health care administration and face criminal penalties for failure to comply.
In their suit, plaintiffs argue that the law violates the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution by compelling speech — putting restrictions on the content and viewpoint that must be shared — and limiting speech about abortion care only to those who have already registered with the state’s health care administration agency.
Plaintiffs point to the vague terms by which they will have to register as an “abortion referral or counseling agency” which could make them targets for harassment and threats of violence. The law applies to any of the innumerable types of people and groups a woman might consult in deciding to seek an abortion including domestic violence shelters, sexual assault survivor centers, charitable organizations, attorneys, clergy, women’s advocacy organizations, and community organizations.