- Vladimir Putin orders military to boost presence in Arctic
- Brooklyn, N.Y.: ‘Lesbian capital’ of the Northeast
- Elian Gonzalez: It’s America’s fault that my mother died
- India top court rules homosexuality is illegal
- Aaron Hernandez, ex-Patriot, on prison life: ‘I’m way less stressed in jail’
- Man pulled from water believed to be disgraced D.C. cop
- Kabul airport hit by suicide bomber who targeted NATO gate
- Space probe on course to land on mile-wide comet
- New budget accord saves $23 billion — after $65 billion spending spree
- Congress seeks ban on in-flight calls
Baltimore pregnancy counseling law being appealed
Pro-life group hits reinstatement
A national pro-life group is getting involved in the legal battle over a Baltimore law that would require faith-based pregnancy centers to post notices stating they do not offer abortion referrals.
Americans United for Life, a D.C.-based group, filed a brief Tuesday in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, seeking to provide testimony in an upcoming case about the law, which was passed in 2009 by the Baltimore City Council, then ruled unconstitutional last January in U.S. District Court.
The group wants to submit written testimony, known as an amicus curiae brief, arguing the appeals court should not overturn the January court decision.
If overturned, the law would require pregnancy counseling centers that don't refer visitors for abortion or birth control — often due to moral or religious objections — to post signs on their premises advertising their stance.
The law — sponsored by then-City Council President and current Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Democrat — drew the ire of Roman Catholic Archbishop of Baltimore Edwin F. O'Brien. He successfully sued the city on grounds that requiring the centers to post such a message violated their freedom of speech.
The city has since appealed the case. Both sides have begun submitting briefs in the case, but oral arguments have yet to be scheduled.
Supporters have contended the law would protect expectant mothers who are unaware that a pregnancy center is pro-life from unknowingly receiving advice that discourages or ignores abortion as a legal option.
The law would have fined offending centers $200, plus $50 for each day of noncompliance.
"The ordinance is a fairly straightforward truth-in-advertising measure. It offers minimal restrictions on the centers," said Stephanie Toti, an attorney for the Center for Reproductive Rights — a pro-choice group acting as co-counsel with the city.
AUL attorney Anna Franzonello said the group was coaxed into the fray by pro-life pregnancy care centers in Maryland and throughout the nation. Baltimore is one of the nation's first cities to pass such legislation, and could be an important battleground in the debate over such laws.
A similar case is also being contested in New York City.
In the Baltimore case, Ms. Franzonello said, AUL hopes to accurately explain the role of faith-based pregnancy centers to combat what she called "false representations" given by city officials that such centers deceive clients by exaggerating abortion's risks.
"The worth of pregnancy care centers is invaluable," she said. "There is no legitimate basis for the ordinance that was enacted against them."
In the District Court case, U.S. District Judge Marvin J. Garbis called the law "unenforceable," and said it amounted to a local government overreaching in its control over counseling services.
"Whether a provider of pregnancy-related services is 'pro-life' or 'pro-choice,' it is for the provider — not the government — to decide when and how to discuss abortion and birth-control methods," he wrote in his Jan. 28 opinion.
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
David Hill joined The Washington Times in February 2011 as a Maryland political reporter. He can be reached at email@example.com.
- Md. drivers could face eventual doubling of gas tax
- Federal appeals court restores Maryland's concealed carry law
- Md. bill would end student suspensions for mimicking gun behavior
- Maryland Senate passes bill decriminalizing small amounts of marijuana
- Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell assailed on transportation
Latest Blog Entries
By Donald Lambro
Growth spikes are little more than trend-free anomalies
- Teen thugs in DC run wild -- even while wearing GPS ankle bracelets
- New budget accord saves $23 billion -- after $65 billion spending spree
- Obama takes 'selfie' at Mandela's funeral service
- VEGAS RULES: Harry Reid pushed feds to change ruling for casino's big-money foreigners
- CARSON: Why did the founders give us the Second Amendment?
- Gov't Motors: Obama fudges math on auto bailout, $15 billion loss for taxpayers
- Somber duty: U.S. presidents in hot demand at Mandela's memorial
- FITTON: A closer look at the Benghazi lie
- American bourbon now better than Scottish whiskey: U.K.-born expert
- LAMBRO: The dark lining to the silver cloud of Obamanomics
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Helping the YOUniverse conspire on your behalf.
A column dedicated to discussing politics, national security, civil liberties, and education.
Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfills the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.
The “Silver Tsunami” created by aging Baby Boomers is hitting America. Let’s explore how we adjust to it, enjoy it and defy negative expectations about age.
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow