A Big Blow for Abortion Advocates

Bad news for pro-abortion advocates: the United States District Court for the District of Maryland just issued a ruling on an important First Amendment pro-life case (Centro Tepeyac v. Montgomery County), exposing, yet again, the radicalism and lack of care for women of the pro-“choice” movement.

The case dealt with a desperate attempt by abortion advocates to harass crisis pregnancy centers (CPC), who have helped thousands of women realize that they need not always choose abortion when confronting a crisis pregnancy.  The seriously liberal Montgomery County in Maryland passed a law requiring “Limited Service Pregnancy Resource Centers” to post a clearly visible sign (in English and Spanish) in its waiting room saying that (1) “the Center does not have a licensed medical professional on staff” and (2) “the Montgomery County Health Officer encourages women who are or may be pregnant to consult with a licensed health care provider.”

Centro Tepeyac, a CPC, represented by the Alliance Defending Freedom, challenged the law as a violation of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. 

Montgomery County argued that the law was needed “to protect the health of County residents.” They argued that women “may mistake a [CPC] for a medical clinic or its staff members as licensed medical professionals and, because of that erroneous belief, could fail to consult an actual medical professional, leading to negative health outcomes.”

There was one small detail missing in their dream scenario, though: evidence.  Their own expert witness, Dr. Ulder Tillman, Health Officer for Montgomery County and Chief of Public Health Services, testified that “she had never received a complaint from someone who sought service at a [CPC] in Montgomery County.”

The executive director of the Shady Grove Pregnancy Center testified that they have served over 30,000 women since they opened in 1983, “without ever receiving a formal complaint for giving inaccurate information or misrepresenting our services.”  The executive director of Bright Right, another CPC, testified that the center has helped over 37,000 women, and that “[i]n their thirty-nine years of existence they have not received a single client complaint.”

Judge Deborah K. Chasanow cited Montgomery County’s “lack of evidence” in striking down the law.  She said, “Quite simply, the County has put no evidence into the record to demonstrate that [CPCs’] failure clearly to state that no doctors are on premises has led to any negative health outcomes.”  And concluded, “[W]hen core First Amendment interests are implicated, mere intuition is not sufficient.  Yet that is all the County has brought forth: intuition and suppositions.”

Any reasonable observer could see that this was a politically motivated law.  Montgomery County’s evidence to support it included a report from the NARAL Pro-Choice Maryland Fund and testimony from pro-abortion plants who went undercover to CPCs and still came away empty.  They said they “felt” like the staff was “manipulative.”  That’s the evidence.

Another Montgomery County expert, Dr. Jodi Kelber-Kaye of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, said in written testimony that “she has heard ‘countless stories’ from her students[.]”  But the county couldn’t produce a single one of those girls to testify.  All they had were the pro-abortion undercover volunteers.

Their arguments reached the bizarre on several instances.  They argued that they were only regulating “commercial speech,” even though these CPCs are non-profits, who very clearly serve these women for free.  The county also argued that they were regulating only “professional speech,” even though their whole premise was that CPCs were not medical professionals. 

At one point, they accused CPCs of targeting “young, poor, and minority women” (a charge leveled at some pro-abortion groups for many years due to large amounts of evidence), but the reason they gave here was simply laughable.  They argued that CPCs target poor women “by advertising in college newspapers and offering free services.”  That’s it.

Thankfully, the Court saw through all the nonsense and concluded that CPCs were being “targeted based on the content of their message.”

There is no merit to the pro-abortion claims on CPCs – yet on the other hand, the stories of dreadful conditions at abortion clinics are numerous.  The tragic events at the abortion clinic of Dr. Kermit Gosnell are still fresh in the country’s mind.  And he is certainly not the only one. 

Just this month, reports surfaced of another woman allegedly injured at famed late-term abortionist LeRoy Carhart’s Germantown Reproductive Health Services abortion clinic. 

Guess where his clinic is located: Montgomery County, Maryland.  But that’s of no concern to the county; those horrible CPCs with zero incidents are the real threat.