Revealed: Md. government colluded with abortion lobbyist NARAL

A Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request reveals it: officials in Montgomery County (Mo Co), Maryland collaborated with activists from rabidly pro-abortion NARAL to shut down a pro-life pregnancy resource center in the county.

Daniel Smyth covered the Centro Tepeyac case here at AT in 2012, with a follow-up last year.  The case shows a chilling inclination by Montgomery County to compel Centro Tepeyac, a pregnancy resource center, to post signage that would turn away mothers seeking an abortion.  Centro Tepeyac sued on freedom of speech grounds, and after a long legal battle, the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland ruled "that Mo Co can't force Centro Tepeyac and other pro-life centers to post pro-abortion signs on their property."  Mo Co dropped the case, and it seemed that a (somewhat dubious, per Smyth) free speech victory would stand.

But now there's a new wrinkle:

The emails obtained by LifeSiteNews reveal that, unbeknownst to the public, Montgomery County dropped the case after conferring with NARAL. The county stopped defending the law the month after NARAL recommended that very action in a March 14, 2014 letter, sent a week after the judge permanently blocked the law.

“It is our hope that the Montgomery County Council (Council) will once again partner with us to ensure Montgomery Council citizens are aware of the misleading tactics used by crisis pregnancy centers," Maryland's NARAL chapter president, Jodi Finkelstein, wrote.

In the letter, sent by the county to LifeSiteNews along with other emails through a Freedom of Information Act request, Finkelstein "strongly" recommended that the county drop the case and implement seven other strategies.

Among the seven strategies are "[f]orbidding Centro from 'participating in advertising' that county officials deem 'untrue or misleading,'" "[d]enying taxpayer funding to pregnancy centers," and "[h]aving the county undertake a 'public awareness campaign' against pregnancy centers."

Mo Co County president George Leventhal seemed to react favorably to NARAL's recommendations, sending out several communiqués seeking to implement them.

Leventhal didn't just discuss policy with Finkelstein. In an email dated July 27, 2012, he said, "It was great to see you at Jerry Samet's house just now." And in 2010 Leventhal wrote that he planned to attend the annual NARAL gala in Rockville, Maryland, on October 16 of that year.

While Centro Tepeyac did end up winning its case against Montgomery County, it looks like pro-life outfits in Maryland have an uphill battle, what with an extreme pro-abortion organization cozied up to at least one county administration.  The state is already quite pro-abortion in its laws (though NARAL thinks it's not pro-abortion enough, taking issue with conscience protections and toothless parental notification requirements), and incoming governor Larry Hogan, though supportive of pro-life initiatives in the past, has called abortion "a matter of settled law" in Maryland.

On the other hand, as Alliance Defending Freedom's Matt Bowman told LifeSiteNews, NARAL's terrible legal advice cost the county $375,000.  For Mo Co to continue to follow that advice may end up saving babies in Maryland.

Drew Belsky is American Thinker's deputy editor.  Contact him at drew@americanthinker.com, and follow him on Twitter @DJB627.

A Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request reveals it: officials in Montgomery County (Mo Co), Maryland collaborated with activists from rabidly pro-abortion NARAL to shut down a pro-life pregnancy resource center in the county.

Daniel Smyth covered the Centro Tepeyac case here at AT in 2012, with a follow-up last year.  The case shows a chilling inclination by Montgomery County to compel Centro Tepeyac, a pregnancy resource center, to post signage that would turn away mothers seeking an abortion.  Centro Tepeyac sued on freedom of speech grounds, and after a long legal battle, the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland ruled "that Mo Co can't force Centro Tepeyac and other pro-life centers to post pro-abortion signs on their property."  Mo Co dropped the case, and it seemed that a (somewhat dubious, per Smyth) free speech victory would stand.

But now there's a new wrinkle:

The emails obtained by LifeSiteNews reveal that, unbeknownst to the public, Montgomery County dropped the case after conferring with NARAL. The county stopped defending the law the month after NARAL recommended that very action in a March 14, 2014 letter, sent a week after the judge permanently blocked the law.

“It is our hope that the Montgomery County Council (Council) will once again partner with us to ensure Montgomery Council citizens are aware of the misleading tactics used by crisis pregnancy centers," Maryland's NARAL chapter president, Jodi Finkelstein, wrote.

In the letter, sent by the county to LifeSiteNews along with other emails through a Freedom of Information Act request, Finkelstein "strongly" recommended that the county drop the case and implement seven other strategies.

Among the seven strategies are "[f]orbidding Centro from 'participating in advertising' that county officials deem 'untrue or misleading,'" "[d]enying taxpayer funding to pregnancy centers," and "[h]aving the county undertake a 'public awareness campaign' against pregnancy centers."

Mo Co County president George Leventhal seemed to react favorably to NARAL's recommendations, sending out several communiqués seeking to implement them.

Leventhal didn't just discuss policy with Finkelstein. In an email dated July 27, 2012, he said, "It was great to see you at Jerry Samet's house just now." And in 2010 Leventhal wrote that he planned to attend the annual NARAL gala in Rockville, Maryland, on October 16 of that year.

While Centro Tepeyac did end up winning its case against Montgomery County, it looks like pro-life outfits in Maryland have an uphill battle, what with an extreme pro-abortion organization cozied up to at least one county administration.  The state is already quite pro-abortion in its laws (though NARAL thinks it's not pro-abortion enough, taking issue with conscience protections and toothless parental notification requirements), and incoming governor Larry Hogan, though supportive of pro-life initiatives in the past, has called abortion "a matter of settled law" in Maryland.

On the other hand, as Alliance Defending Freedom's Matt Bowman told LifeSiteNews, NARAL's terrible legal advice cost the county $375,000.  For Mo Co to continue to follow that advice may end up saving babies in Maryland.

Drew Belsky is American Thinker's deputy editor.  Contact him at drew@americanthinker.com, and follow him on Twitter @DJB627.