Loading
Baltimore’s mandatory pregnancy center signs are unconstitutional, federal judge rules
By Kevin J. Jones
Archbishop Edwin F. O'Brien
Archbishop Edwin F. O'Brien

.- A federal judge in Maryland has struck down a law which required pro-life pregnancy centers to post announcements that they do not refer clients for abortions or birth control. The Archbishop of Baltimore declared the ruling “a clear victory.”

Under the regulation, if inspectors found no visible announcement in English and Spanish at a center then it would have 10 days to post a notice or face a $150 fine. The pregnancy centers of Baltimore receive significant support from the Archdiocese of Baltimore, which also backed the suit to overturn the law.

U.S. District Judge Marvin J. Garbis ruled on Jan. 28 that the law is “unenforceable.” He said it is for the provider, and not the government, to “decide when and how to discuss abortion and birth-control method.”

"The Government cannot, consistent with the First Amendment, require a 'pro-life' pregnancy-related service center to post a sign."

He explained that the Constitution bars “compelled speech,” including mandates for introducing the subjects of abortion and birth-control.

The judge said it was “revealing” that the defendants claimed the ordinance mitigated the “harm” caused by the “propaganda” of pregnancy centers concerning abortion and contraception.

“Such descriptions can only support the conclusion that defendants enacted the ordinance out of disagreement with plaintiffs' viewpoint on abortion and birth-control.”

St. Brigid’s Roman Catholic Church and the Greater Baltimore Center for Pregnancy Concerns, which occupies space rent-free from St. Brigid’s, were parties to the lawsuit with Archbishop Edwin F. O’Brien of Baltimore. However, both the archbishop and the church were dismissed as parties to the suit because they lacked standing.

Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake sponsored the legislation when she was City Council president.

Opponents of the law were concerned that the local regulation was part of a budding national strategy to burden pro-life centers and to discourage pregnant women in need from keeping their babies.

On Jan. 28 Archbishop O’Brien praised the ruling as a “clear victory” both for pregnant women in need of help and for First Amendment principles.

He cited his homily at his October 2007 Mass of Installation in which he told the Church and the citizens of Maryland that abortion “need not be an ‘answer’ in this archdiocese.”

He asked women in crisis pregnancies to let Catholics “help them affirm life.” Crisis pregnancy centers provide an “integral part” of the response to pregnant women in need, he added.

“In Baltimore, these centers assist thousands of women every year who are trying to embrace the gift of life in their unborn children,” he commented. “And this ruling allows the important and compassionate work of these pro-life pregnancy centers to continue without interference from Baltimore City which sought to target these.”


Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)
Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis visits poor neighborhood and meets with young people from Argentina
Pope Francis celebrates Mass at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida
Denver rally draws hundreds in support of religious freedom
Pope Francis prays over a sick man in St Peter's Square
Denver women's clinic will offer natural, Catholic care
Interview Clips: Barbara Nicolosi speaks to CNA
US Cardinals press conference at North American College
Pope Benedict to retire to monastery inside Vatican City
Pope cites waning strength as reason for resignation
Hundreds convene in Denver to urge respect for life
New Orange bishop encourages Catholic unity in diversity
Chinese pro-life activist calls for reform, international attention
At Lincoln installation, Bishop Conley says holiness is success
Mother Cabrini shrine reopens in Chicago after a decade
Ordination of 33 deacons fills St. Peter's with joy
Cardinal says "Charity is the mother of all the virtues"
Augustine Institute expands evangelization effort with new campus
Bishops recall 'Way of St. James' as chance to trust in God
Los Angeles cathedral's newest chapel houses Guadalupe relic
Apr
17

Liturgical Calendar

April 17, 2014

Holy Thursday

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Jn 13:1-15

Gospel
Date
04/17/14
04/16/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: Ex 12:1-8, 11-14
Second Reading:: 1 Cor 11:23-26
Gospel:: Jn 13:1-15

Homily of the Day

Jn 13:1-15

Homily
Date
04/17/14
04/16/14

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
     HTML
Text only
Headlines
  

Follow us: