NEW YORK, July 13, 2011 ( – A federal district court judge on Wednesday granted a preliminary injunction blocking a New York City gag law against local pro-life pregnancy centers, which would have gone into effect tomorrow.

In an opinion issued this morning, U.S. District Court judge William Pauley upheld the arguments of the lawyers representing the pro-life centers on all counts, agreeing that the ordinance would likely cause irreparable harm to the centers’ First Amendment rights and that plaintiffs would probably succeed in their legal challenge.

Int. No. 371 would have forced pregnancy centers to prominently state whether they provide abortions at their premises and on their advertising, a mandate hailed by NARAL Pro-Choice New York as a sign of the city council’s “commitment to choice” after it passed in March.

Chris Slattery of Expectant Mother Care/EMC FrontLine Pregnancy Centers called today’s ruling “a complete vindication of our arguments made against this law” since it was first announced in October.

Slattery thanked ACLJ and ADF lawyers for their “outstanding legal defense work for the New York City life centers, that will positively affect the entire country.”

“This is a major overturning of a substantial majority of our city’s government leaders and … there is justice in a liberal city like New York when we appeal to our constitutional principles,” Slattery told Wednesday afternoon. “We are optimistic it will be upheld.”

The pro-life leader said that the city, whose leaders had voted 39-9 to enact the ordinance, may seek an emergency appeal to the injunction.

Alliance Defense Fund lawyer Matt Bowman, who represented the pregnancy centers, said that those who argue the ordinance is as legally acceptable as informed consent laws for abortion clinics are misguided.

“It’s really simple: The government can license the practice of medicine, it cannot license free speech,” Bowman told “Pro-life pregnancy centers are offering free hope and help to pregnant women and their children; they are not selling a medical procedure which, without consent, would amount to physical assault.”