Search  |  Login  |  Register

Update in Crisis Pregnancy Center Appeal

By ACLJ.org1347296602000

This Friday, September 14, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit will hear oral arguments concerning a New York City ordinance that targets pro-life pregnancy centers.

The ordinance requires pregnancy centers—facilities that offer free, non-medical assistance to women who are or may become pregnant—to include lengthy disclaimers in both English and Spanish in all of their advertisements, on signs posted in their lobbies, on their websites, and in any phone or in-person conversation regarding the services that they offer. The ordinance imposes substantial financial penalties for non-compliance; a facility that fails to comply with the ordinance for one month could face $76,000 in fines. The intent and effect of the law is to single out facilities that oppose abortion for disfavored treatment, while abortion-providing facilities are exempt from the law.

In the litigation, the ACLJ represents The Evergreen Association (Expectant Mother Care Pregnancy Centers-EMC Frontline Pregnancy Centers) and Life Center of New York (AAA Pregnancy Problems Center), which operate numerous pro-life pregnancy centers across New York City. The ordinance would prevent these Plaintiffs from using certain forms of advertising and would significantly increase the cost of other forms of advertising.

The ACLJ has alleged that the ordinance violates the freedom of speech, freedom of assembly and association, freedom of the press, and due process of law guaranteed to the Plaintiffs by the United States and New York Constitutions. Similar ordinances have been struck down in whole or in part by federal judges in Baltimore and Montgomery County, Maryland.

Last July, a federal judge issued a preliminary injunction prohibiting the City of New York from enforcing the ordinance, concluding that there was a high likelihood that the ordinance violated the Plaintiffs’ free speech rights and was impermissibly vague. The judge stated that the law was not comparable to laws that regulate commercial advertising because the pregnancy centers offer assistance for free in furtherance of their religious and charitable missions. In addition, the judge concluded that there are multiple ways for the City of New York to protect its interests, including through the neutral enforcement of existing laws, without forcing the pro-life pregnancy centers to speak a government-crafted message.

The City of New York appealed the judge’s decision to the Second Circuit, and briefs were filed by both sides from October 2011 to February 2012. The case was consolidated with another lawsuit brought by pro-life facilities that are or may be subject to the ordinance’s requirements. A panel of three judges will hear oral argument and subsequently issue a decision.

Latest in
Pro Life

Have They No Shame?

By Joseph Williams1426698391000

This week in Congress, Democrat Senators blocked an anti-human trafficking bill because it doesn’t publicly fund abortions. Read that again. Pro-abortion extremists are trying to kill an anti-human trafficking bill that enjoyed broad bipartisan support. Mollie Hemingway at The Federalist has more...

read more

New Life in HHS Mandate Challenge

By Edward White1426006112440

On March 9th, the United States Supreme Court reversed a 2-to-1 decision by the United States Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals that required the University of Notre Dame to comply with the Obama Administration’s abortion-pill Mandate even though compliance violates the Catholic teachings that...

read more

Lawsuit against Planned Parenthood

By Walter M. Weber1425926216131

On March 5, ACLJ attorneys asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review and reinstate a lawsuit accusing the Planned Parenthood (PP) affiliates of California of illegally overcharging the government – and thus taxpayers – over $200 million. In our “petition for certiorari,” the name for a formal request...

read more

Big Government Protects Big Abortion

By Francis J. Manion1425657963529

Imagine a state with a business or industry – any business or industry – with a horrendous track record of harming, sometimes even killing its customers. For years this business has somehow managed to fly under the radar of state regulators, concealing its slipshod, unsafe practices from those...

read more