I noted in March that a federal judge struck down a Montgomery County law “that forced pro-life pregnancy counselors to advise women against using their services.”
Today, Alliance Defending Freedom is declaring “total victory” after Montgomery County decided not to appeal this ruling:
The county’s decision to let a federal court order against the law stand without further challenge means the lawsuit is the first among many similar cases around the nation to reach completion.
The outcome of the case in favor of Centro Tepeyac, a Montgomery County pregnancy care center represented by Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys and allied attorneys, is a positive sign for lawsuits challenging similar ordinances. Other cases are currently taking place in Baltimore, New York City, San Francisco, and Austin, Texas.
The Baltimore case involves the Center for Pregnancy Concerns and the Archdiocese of Baltimore and is because of a law that was introduced by current Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake when she was Baltimore City Council President.
Mark Rienzi and Matt Bowman, two lawyers involved in Centro Tepeyac v. Montgomery County, had the following comments:
“Pro-life pregnancy centers offer real help that many women want. The government cannot stifle these centers just because abortionists fear their hopeful message,” said lead counsel Mark Rienzi, one of more than 2,300 allied attorneys with ADF and a law professor at Catholic University of America’s Columbus School of Law. “Four years of litigation made it clear that the government had no basis for interfering with Centro Tepeyac’s loving efforts to help women.”
“The court in this case rightly found no justification for the government to force pro-life centers to speak a message designed to drive women away,” said ADF Senior Legal Counsel Matt Bowman, co-counsel in the case. “No government, in a quest to achieve a political goal, should ever resort to coercing or shutting down someone else’s speech in violation of the First Amendment.”
More background information:
The Montgomery County law forced “limited-service pregnancy centers” and individuals who have a “primary purpose” of offering information about pregnancy to post signage noting that a medical professional is not on staff and that the county health department advises them to speak with a licensed medical professional. The county intentionally crafted the law so that it doesn’t apply to pro-abortion centers, such as Planned Parenthood, even if counseling is offered there by non-medical persons.