LANSDOWNE, Va., Jan. 28, 2011 Christian Newswire — On Friday, the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland found an law anti-pregnancy center law in Baltimore City unconstitutional, sending a message across the country that similar legislative efforts by abortion advocates to shut down pregnancy centers cannot be upheld.
In Archbishop of Baltimore et al. v. City of Baltimore et al., Judge Garbis validated the arguments of Care Net and others defending pregnancy centers by stating that the legislation is an unconstitutional violation of free speech. Pregnancy centers were targeted because of their position on abortion, which is considered viewpoint discrimination.
“The decision is a victory for pregnancy centers who for years have encountered hostile legislation aimed at shutting them down,” said Care Net President Melinda Delahoyde. “A victory for pregnancy centers is a victory for women facing unplanned pregnancies, women who deserve life-affirming options and abortion alternatives.”
In the opinion, Judge Garbis stated, “The Government cannot, consistent with the First Amendment, require a ‘pro-life’ pregnancy-related service center to post a sign as would be required by the Ordinance.” In addition, the Judge stated that “viewpoint-based discrimination is considered a particularly offensive form of content-based discrimination.”