News Round-Up: Anti-Prostitution Pledge at the Supreme Court

Monday, the US Supreme Court heard arguments in our anti-prostitution pledge case, USAID v AOSI, the only First Amendment case on this session’s docket. Below is a round-up of recent news coverage about the case as well as a link to our official statement.

Our statement: "Diverse Groups Find Consensus in Protecting Free Speech as Anti-Prostitution Pledge Case Heads to Supreme Court"

"On April 22, the US Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in a case that could have dramatic consequences for NGOs, faith-based groups, and other civil society members. The case, USAID v AOSI, challenges a 2003 law that requires all groups receiving US Government funds for international HIV and AIDS work to have 'a policy explicitly opposing prostitution.'"

SCOTUS Blog: "Argument recap: Anxiously seeking simplicity"

"No matter how two lawyers tried to simplify their arguments before the Supreme Court on Monday, the Justices often acted as if there just had to be a way to reduce them down even more.  The Court seemed to be grasping for a way to understand more clearly the two stark alternatives it was being offered in the case of Agency for International Development v. Alliance for Open Society (12-10)."

NPR: "Justices Weigh Speech Rights For Groups Getting U.S. Funds"

"The U.S. Supreme Court grappled with a tough First Amendment issue on Monday that pits congressional priorities against free speech rights. At issue: what speech limitations may be placed on private groups that receive federal grant money to fight HIV/AIDS abroad. The justices' questions revealed a court closely divided, and not along the usual liberal/conservative lines."

The New York Times Editorial Board: "Free Speech and an Anti-Prostitution Pledge"

"A 2003 federal statute, called the United States Leadership Against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria Act, finances a wide range of public health initiatives to treat and prevent disease around the world. That law prohibits the use of any government money to 'promote or advocate the legalization or practice of prostitution.' But it also goes beyond that reasonable provision to require almost all recipients of funds to 'have a policy explicitly opposing prostitution'—to make an anti-prostitution pledge—and to refrain from any speech the government deems 'inconsistent with' the policy."

The New York Times: "Justices Weigh Conditions In Awarding U.S. Grants"

"The question for the Supreme Court on Monday was whether groups receiving federal money to combat AIDS abroad may be required to adopt policies opposing prostitution. The answer, judging from the justices’ comments in the first half of the argument, seemed to be that the First Amendment bars attaching that kind of condition to federal grants."

For more information about the case, please visit www.pledgechallenge.org.

Type: Press Release
Focus Area: Advocacy

Media Contact

Please contact Kate Stookey, Director of Public Affairs, at 617-972-1231 or kstookey@pathfinder.org

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