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More than 100,000 People Join ACLJ in Fighting for Rights of Crisis Pregnancy Centers
"We have seen a concerted effort by pro-abortion groups to marginalize and distort the message of crisis pregnancy centers, " says CeCe Heil, ACLJ senior attorney.
WASHINGTON, Sept. 25, 2012—To help protect the rights of pro-life groups, the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) is urging a federal appeals court to invalidate two Maryland laws it says unfairly target crisis pregnancy centers.
Baltimore enacted a law requiring pro-life pregnancy centers to post signs stating they do not refer for abortions or birth control. Last year a federal district court declared the law unconstitutional because it violates the Freedom of Speech Clause of the First Amendment. But the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth District has decided to rehear the case. So today, the ACLJ filed an amicus brief representing more than 108,000 Americans, asking the full appeals court to side with the federal district court in declaring the Baltimore ordinance unconstitutional. It also urges the invalidation of a similar ordinance in Montgomery County, Md.
"What's become clear is the fact that pro-abortion organizations continue to systematically target and punish crisis pregnancy centers across the nation by violating their First Amendment rights," said CeCe Heil, an ACLJ senior counsel. "We have seen a concerted effort by pro-abortion groups to marginalize and distort the message of crisis pregnancy centers."
The ACLJ argues the Baltimore law is not only unconstitutional, but was part of an organized plan by pro-abortion organizations to target crisis pregnancy centers across the country.
The brief, posted here, argues: "The various laws imposing disclaimer mandates upon CPCs are not based upon actual evidence of a concrete, non-hypothetical problem necessitating government intervention, but rather are based upon a self-reinforcing echo chamber of pro-abortion advocates' rhetoric and accusations passed from city to city." ACLJ attorneys say the only reason for these kinds of laws is to hamper the efforts of crisis pregnancy centers.
The Baltimore appeal comes as the ACLJ continues to litigate its case against New York City's law targeting crisis pregnancy centers. ACLJ attorneys recently appeared before a federal appeals court in the New York City case, arguing that the ordinance violates the constitutionally protected rights to freedom of speech and due process of law, guaranteed to Plaintiffs by the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.
Led by Chief Counsel Jay Sekulow, the American Center for Law and Justice focuses on constitutional law and is based in Washington, D.C.