Pro-abortion ordinance loses to First Amendment

Wednesday, January 10, 2018
 | 
Chris Woodward (OneNewsNow.com)

First Amendment (Bill of Rights)It's a court ruling that upset abortion supporters but an attorney says the First Amendment won the day.

Last week, the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals struck down a City of Baltimore ordinance that required pro-life pregnancy crisis centers to notify clients that they do not provide abortion services.

The ruling found that the ordinance violates the First Amendment's free speech clause, stating that the required disclaimer "portrays abortion as one among a menu of morally equivalent choices." 

Although that might be the city's view on abortion, the court ruling further stated, "it is not the center's [view]." 

NARAL Pro-Choice Maryland and other groups demanded the ordinance, claiming it protected against misinformation about abortion, but it most certainly violates free speech, says Liberty Counsel public policy director Jonathan Alexandre

"This was a legally hollow attempt," he alleges, "to force an abortion exception into the text of the First Amendment and compel these pro-life centers to tell these visitors, Hey, there is a menu of options, including abortions, which cuts fundamentally against what these crisis pregnancy centers choose to hold as their mission and their philosophy."

There are similar controversial ordinances in other parts of the country and Alexandre says Liberty Counsel is involved in many of those legal battles.

Later this year, meanwhile, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments over a similar ordinance in California.

That ruling will establish a legal standard, though Alexandre says the nine justices do not have to go too far to find it.

"There is no abortion exception in the First Amendment," he says.

Instead, he adds, the First Amendment protects us from government-compelled speech. 

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