The Supreme Court will decide whether the federal government can force groups that receive funding for overseas anti-HIV and AIDS programs to adopt policies opposing prostitution and sex trafficking.

The provision is part of a 2003 law that authorized billions of dollars of spending to combat infectious diseases around the world.

However, the groups that do the work said the requirement would undermine their anti-AIDS efforts and is an intrusion on their free-speech rights.

The groups in the coalition that brought the suit say their work in Africa and Asia could be hurt by adopting the provision.

The groups told the court that they recognize the harms associated with prostitution but also believe “adopting a policy that explicitly opposes prostitution would jeopardize (their) effectiveness in working with high-risk groups to fight HIV/AIDS.”

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