USA – Why Freedom of Speech Is the Next Abortion Fight

A legal battle in Mississippi will test whether states can criminalize those who merely provide information.

By Yascha Mounk
AUGUST 22, 2022

In the middle of July, three big blue billboards went up in and around Jackson, Mississippi. pregnant? you still have a choice, they informed passing motorists, inviting them to visit to learn more. Anybody who did landed on a website that provides information about at-home abortion pills and ways to get them delivered anywhere in the United States—including parts of the country, such as Mississippi, where abortions are now illegal under most circumstances.

A few days ago, the founders of the nonprofit that paid for the billboard ads, Mayday Health, received a subpoena from the office of the attorney general of Mississippi. (The state has already been at the center of recent debates about abortion: Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the ruling that overturned Roe v. Wade, upheld a Mississippi statute by allowing states to put strict limits on abortion.) The subpoena, which I have seen, demands a trove of documents about Mayday Health and its activities. It may be the first step in an effort to force Mayday Health to take down the billboards, or even to prosecute the organization’s leaders for aiding and abetting criminal conduct.