Compelled Disclosures

Caroline Mala Corbin

University of Miami School of Law

April 30, 2013

Alabama Law Review, Forthcoming

Courts have faced a wave of compelled disclosure cases recently. By government mandate, tobacco manufacturers must include graphic warnings on their cigarette packages, doctors must show and describe ultrasound images of fetuses to women seeking to abort them, and crisis pregnancy centers must disclose that they do not provide contraception or abortion services. Although applying the same compelled speech doctrine to similar issues, appeals courts have reached very different results in challenges to these laws. Drawing from First Amendment theory, this Article first identifies why compelled disclosures undermine free speech values. It then applies those insights to the specific examples above. In doing so, it examines not only compelled text but the new phenomenon of compelled images, particularly compelled images designed to provoke an emotional response. The Article concludes that recent appeals court decisions have it backwards: It is mandatory abortion counseling laws that offend free speech principles, not laws requiring cigarette warnings or crisis pregnancy center disclosures.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 68

Keywords: First Amendment, free speech, compelled speech, commercial speech, corporations, abortion, ultrasounds, crisis pregnancy centers, tobacco, law and emotion, heuristics

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Date posted: May 1, 2013 ; Last revised: May 20, 2013

Suggested Citation

Corbin, Caroline Mala, Compelled Disclosures (April 30, 2013). Alabama Law Review, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2258742

Contact Information

Caroline Mala Corbin (Contact Author)
University of Miami School of Law ( email )
1311 Miller Drive
Coral Gables, FL 33146
United States
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