Charlotte Lozier Institute
A pro-life pregnancy help center (PHC) in Baltimore has won another legal victory in its fight against a city ordinance.
The Baltimore ordinance would have forced Greater Baltimore Pregnancy Concerns Center to post a disclaimer in its waiting room stating that it does not provide or make referrals for abortion or birth-control services.
This latest victory for the Greater Baltimore Pregnancy Concerns Center (the “Center”) comes six years and six months after it first filed a lawsuit challenging the Baltimore ordinance. The Center filed its lawsuit on March 29, 2010 and, on September 29, 2016, the federal district court in Maryland issued an order in favor of the Center.
(The court issued an opinion on October 4, 2016 and a judgment order on October 21, 2016.)
The lawsuit stems from a Baltimore ordinance enacted in 2009. As explained by the court, the ordinance “requires a ‘limited-service pregnancy center’ (‘LSPC’) to post a disclaimer in its waiting room notifying clients that it ‘does not provide or make referral for abortion or birth-control services.’” The disclaimer “must consist of one or more signs” that are “‘easily readable’ and ‘conspicuously posted’ in the waiting room or equivalent area.”
The PHC objected to this mandate.
As set forth by the court, quoting from an affidavit, “According to the Center, ‘[t]he Disclaimer would alter the course of the Center’s communications with its visitors’ because it would ‘ensure that every conversation at the Center begins with the subject of abortion and a government warning.’”
The court quotes from the same affidavit in explaining that the disclaimer as mandated “‘forces pregnancy centers to begin their conversations with a stark government disclaimer, divorced from the support offered by the Center, and suggesting that abortion is available elsewhere and might be considered a good option by pregnant women – a message that the Center expressly finds morally offensive and would not otherwise provide.’”
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