John Westen

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NYC crisis pregnancy centers file 2nd major suit against law

John Westen

NEW YORK, March 24, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – EMC Frontline Pregnancy Centers and AAA Pregnancy Problems Center, which operate a total of 13 crisis pregnancy centers across New York City, have filed a federal lawsuit challenging a new ordinance in New York City that targets crisis pregnancy centers.

Represented by the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) and the American Catholic Lawyers Association, the groups contend the law violates the U.S. Constitution as well as the New York State Constitution.

The New York City Council passed the measure in early March and Mayor Michael Bloomberg signed the bill into law last week. It requires crisis pregnancy centers to disclose in advertisements and in their facilities a list of services they do not provide, such as abortions or emergency contraception. It also requires the centers to make disclosures verbally.

“Since this ordinance was first proposed, we have put the city council and the mayor on notice that it was unconstitutional and that we were prepared to challenge it immediately if passed.  We’re now moving forward with that challenge,” said CeCe Heil, ACLJ Senior Counsel.

“We are committed to protecting the rights of our clients and are urging the federal court to halt implementation of this ordinance and declare it unconstitutional.  Similar ordinances have already been struck down in federal court and we have no doubt that this ordinance will be rejected as well.”

The lawsuit contends that at a minimum, the ordinance “unconstitutionally compels Plaintiffs to speak messages that they have not chosen for themselves, with which they do not agree, and that distract from and detract from the messages they have chosen to speak.” 

The ACLJ is asking that the court keep the ordinance from being implemented while the lawsuit proceeds.  The suit seeks injunctive relief, in the form of preliminary and permanent injunctions, and urges the court to declare the law unconstitutional.

Similar ordinances were recently struck down as unconstitutional by federal judges in Baltimore and Montgomery County, Maryland.

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