Saturday 20th April 2024

Home » Frontpage » Currently Reading:

Appeals Court… Upholds Clinic’s Right Not To Promote Abortion

January 22, 2018 Frontpage No Comments

By MIKE MANNO

The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals delivered a double rebuke to the City of Baltimore’s attempt to enlist a crisis pregnancy center to promote abortions, with the final blow delivered January 5.
Concern by city officials that women seeking abortions might be confused by advertisements and misled into visiting pro-life pregnancy centers rather than an abortion clinic which might cause a delay in their ability to terminate their pregnancy, the city council passed an ordinance in December of 2009 that required any “limited-service pregnancy center” to post a disclaimer notifying clients that it “does not provide or make referral for abortion or birth-control services.”
In short, the ordinance forced crisis pregnancy centers to either refer for abortions or display a pro-abortion message, drafted by the government, on its walls. In response, the Greater Baltimore Center for Pregnancy Concerns, Inc., filed a federal lawsuit against the city to block enforcement of the law.
The Center, housed rent free in a Catholic church, provided pregnant women with counseling, pregnancy tests, sonograms, prenatal vitamins, diapers, and other assistance, all free of charge. It did not, however, refer for abortions.
The Center initially won in the district court which granted summary judgment for the Center on the basis that the ordinance violated its right of free speech and because it was not narrowly tailored to seek a compelling state interest.
On appeal, a three-judge panel of the Fourth Circuit affirmed the decision, but the entire court, en banc, vacated the district court’s decision and sent the case back for further proceedings. On rehearing the district court again held for the Center and the city took another appeal and early this month the court of appeals again held for the Center.
“The city has considerable latitude in regulating public health and deceptive advertising. But Baltimore’s chosen means here are too loose a fit with those ends, and in this case compel a politically and religiously motivated group to convey a message fundamentally at odds with its core beliefs and mission,” said the court in a unanimous decision against the city.
The city had argued that the ordinance was a routine exercise of the state’s police power to regulate commercial and professional speech and that the court should use a “relaxed” level of scrutiny. The court rejected that argument, finding that the ordinance, as applied to the Center, did not regulate speech in a commercial transaction.
“Nothing in the record suggests that the Center proposes any transactions in the waiting room where the disclaimer would appear….[T]he Center collects no remuneration of any kind….A morally and religiously motivated offering for free services cannot be described as a bare ‘commercial transaction’,” the court wrote, adding: “The city contends that the ordinance regulates commercial speech because the Center advertises its services, some of which have commercial value in other contexts. But that fact alone does not suffice to transform the Center’s ideological and religious advocacy into commercial activity.”
Nor does the ordinance regulate professional speech since Maryland pregnancy centers are not required to be licensed or are subject to state regulatory control, said the court. “Simply put, no one in the Greater Baltimore Center is practicing a ‘profession’ in the traditional sense contemplated by our First Amendment jurisprudence.”
Then, turning to the question of “forced speech,” the court wrote:
“The classic First Amendment violation has always been thought to involve an outright prohibition by the state of certain speech. But over time adjunct First Amendment rights have emerged…the right not to utter political or philosophical beliefs that the state wishes to have said. These adjunct rights have become crucial to speech freedoms because, without them, states can bend individuals to their own beliefs and use compelled speech as a weapon to run its ideological foes into the ground.”
Then the court turned to Baltimore’s stated goal in adopting the ordinance which was to address deceptive advertising and to avoid health risks that might accompanying delays in seeking an abortion.
“After seven years of litigation and a 1,295 page record before us, the city does not identify a single example of a woman who entered the Greater Baltimore Center’s waiting room under the misimpression that she could obtain an abortion there. What the record does show is affirmative advocacy of abortion alternatives by a lawful nonprofit group,” the court wrote.
Then in its harshest criticism against the city, it said: “Particularly troubling in this regard is…that the ordinance compels speech from pro-life pregnancy centers, but not other pregnancy clinics that offer or refer for abortion….Especially in this context, content-based regulation ‘raises the specter that the government may effectively drive certain ideas or viewpoints from the marketplace’.”
Finally, the court warned about “weaponizing the means of government against ideological foes” to prescribe “what shall be orthodox in politics…or other matters of opinion or force citizens to confess by work or act their faith therein.”
“Today’s decision confirms that government has no place in mandating speech — especially speech associated with deeply held religious beliefs,” said Mark Rienzi, senior counsel at Becket, the nonprofit religious liberty firm that represented the Center.
There has been no announcement by the city as to whether or not it will seek further review. In support of the city’s position, friend of court briefs were filed by Catholics for Choice and two Democratic members of the Maryland congressional delegation: Sen. Christopher Van Hollen and Cong. Elijah Cummings.
Currently pending before the U.S. Supreme Court is a case from the Ninth Circuit, National Institute of Family & Life Advocates v. Becerra, a similar case from California in which the courts have upheld “compelled disclosures” in pro-life clinics in that state.
The difference between the cases is that in the Baltimore case there was no licensing requirement for such clinics, whereas the California case involved licensing law and the courts there held the law could be applied to professional speech.
A distinction without a difference? We’ll have to wait and see.

Share Button

2019 The Wanderer Printing Co.

Vatican and USCCB leave transgender policy texts unpublished

While U.S. bishops have made headlines for releasing policies addressing gender identity and pastoral ministry, guidelines on the subject have been drafted but not published by both the U.S. bishops’ conference and the Vatican’s doctrinal office, leaving diocesan bishops to…Continue Reading

Biden says Pope Francis told him to continue receiving communion, amid scrutiny over pro-abortion policies

President Biden said that Pope Francis, during their meeting Friday in Vatican City, told him that he should continue to receive communion, amid heightened scrutiny of the Catholic president’s pro-abortion policies.  The president, following the approximately 90-minute-long meeting, a key…Continue Reading

Federal judge rules in favor of Gov. DeSantis’ mask mandate ban

MIAMI (LifeSiteNews) – A federal judge this week handed Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis another legal victory on his mask mandate ban for schools. On Wednesday, Judge K. Michael Moore of the Southern District of Florida denied a petition from…Continue Reading

The Eucharist should not be received unworthily, says Nigerian cardinal

Priests have a duty to remind Catholics not to receive the Eucharist in a state of serious sin and to make confession easily available, a Nigerian cardinal said at the International Eucharistic Congress on Thursday. “It is still the doctrine…Continue Reading

Donald Trump takes a swipe at Catholics and Jews who did not vote for him

Donald Trump complained about Catholics and Jews who did not vote for him in 2020. The former president made the comments in a conference call featuring religious leaders. The move could be seen to shore up his religious conservative base…Continue Reading

Y Gov. Kathy Hochul Admits Andrew Cuomo Covered Up COVID Deaths, 12,000 More Died Than Reported

When it comes to protecting people from COVID, Andrew Cuomo is already the worst governor in America. New York has the second highest death rate per capita, in part because he signed an executive order putting COVID patients in nursing…Continue Reading

Prayers For Cardinal Burke . . . U.S. Cardinal Burke says he has tested positive for COVID-19

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — U.S. Cardinal Raymond L. Burke said he has tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19. In an Aug. 10 tweet, he wrote: “Praised be Jesus Christ! I wish to inform you that I have recently…Continue Reading

Democrats Block Amendment Banning Late-Term Abortions, Stopping Abortions Up to Birth

Senate Democrats have blocked an amendment that would ban abortions on babies older than 20 weeks. During consideration of the multi-trillion spending package, pro-life Louisiana Senator John Kennedy filed an amendment to ban late-term abortions, but Democrats steadfastly support killing…Continue Reading

Transgender student wins as U.S. Supreme Court rebuffs bathroom appeal

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday handed a victory to a transgender former public high school student who waged a six-year legal battle against a Virginia county school board that had barred him from using the bathroom corresponding…Continue Reading

New York priest accused by security guard of assault confirms charges have now been dropped

NEW YORK, June 17, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) — A New York priest has made his first public statement regarding the dismissal of charges against him.  Today Father George W. Rutler reached out to LifeSiteNews and other media today with the following…Continue Reading

21,000 sign petition protesting US Catholic bishops vote on Biden, abortion

More than 21,000 people have signed a letter calling for U.S. Catholic bishops to cancel a planned vote on whether President Biden should receive communion.  Biden, a Catholic, supports abortion rights and has long come under attack from some Catholics over that…Continue Reading

Bishop Gorman seeks candidates to fill two full time AP level teaching positions for the 2021-2022 school year in the subject areas of Calculus/Statistics and Physics

Bishop Thomas K. Gorman Regional Catholic School is a college preparatory school located in Tyler, Texas. It is an educational ministry of the Catholic Diocese of Tyler led by Bishop Joseph Strickland. The sixth through twelfth grade school provides a…Continue Reading

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for 150 years in our weekly print edition.


  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to su
bscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
 
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 150 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.
 
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

Catechism

Today . . .

Kamala Harris Heads to Arizona to Promote Abortions Up to Birth

Kamala Harris is visiting Arizona today to showcase the Biden-Harris Administration’s radical support of unlimited abortion. “Kamala Harris has become the abortion czar of the Biden Administration,” said Carol Tobias, president of the National Right to Life Committee. “Instead of joining with the pro-life movement to build programs and safety nets to help promote real solutions for women and their preborn children, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have engaged in fearmongering and propaganda,” Tobias continue

May Everyone Have a Blessed and Joyful Easter

Is Easter being replaced with the ‘Transgender Day of Visibility’?

Two observances — Easter and the recently contrived “International Transgender Day of Visibility” — fall on Sunday, March 31 this year, causing some to wonder “Is Easter being replaced with the ‘Transgender Day of Visibility?’” It’s a valid question. For more than a few, it certainly will. Others might dismiss this as nothing more than a coincidence. That would be a mistake. On the last day of this month, we will witness a clash of religions as…Continue Reading

Abortion Advocates No Longer Consider It “A Necessary Evil,” They Celebrate Killing Babies

Last week, Kamala Harris became the first vice president in U.S. history to make a public visit to an abortion clinic. Though the Democratic party’s support for abortion is nothing new, Harris’ Planned Parenthood appearance does illustrate how that support has become a flagrant celebration of abortion as a public and personal good, essential to both “freedom” and to “healthcare.” At the appearance, Harris proclaimed,  It is only right and fair that people have access…Continue Reading

Wisconsin Supreme Court says Catholic charity group cannot claim religious tax exemption

The Wisconsin Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that a major Catholic charity group’s activities were not “primarily” religious under state law, stripping the group of a key tax break and ordering it to pay into the state unemployment system. Catholic Charities Bureau (CCB) last year argued that the state had improperly removed its designation as a religious organization.  The charity filed a lawsuit after the state said it did not qualify to be considered as an organization…Continue Reading

The King of Kings

Cindy Paslawski We are at the end of the Church year. We began with Advent a year ago, commemorating the time awaiting the coming of the Christ and we are ending these weeks later with a vision of the future, a vision of Christ the King of the Universe on His throne before us all.…Continue Reading

7,000 Pro-Lifers March In London

By STEVEN ERTELT LONDON (LifeNews) — Over the weekend, some seven thousand pro-life people in the UK participated in the March for Life in London to protest abortion.They marched to Parliament Square on Saturday, September 2 under the banner of “Freedom to Live” and had to deal with a handful of radical abortion activists.During the…Continue Reading

An Appeal For Prayer For The Armenian People

By RAYMOND LEO CARDINAL BURKE (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Cardinal Burke on August 29, 2023, issued this prayer for the Armenian people, noting their unceasing love for Christ, even in the face of persecution.) + + On the Feast of the Beheading of St. John the Baptist, having a few days ago celebrated the…Continue Reading

Robert Hickson, Founding Member Of Christendom College, Dies At 80

By MAIKE HICKSON FRONT ROYAL, Va. (LifeSiteNews) — Robert David Hickson, Jr., of Front Royal, Va., died at his home on September 2, 2023, at 21:29 p.m. after several months of suffering and after having received the Last Rites of the Catholic Church. He was surrounded by friends and family.Robert is survived by me —…Continue Reading

The Real Hero Of “Sound of Freedom”… Says The Film Has Strengthened The Fight Against Child Trafficking

By ANA PAULA MORALES (CNA) —Tim Ballard, a former U.S. Homeland Security agent who risked his life to fight child trafficking, discussed the impact of the movie Sound of Freedom, which is based on his work, in an August 29 interview with ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. “I’ve spent more than 20 years helping…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

Catholic Replies

Editor’s Note: This lesson on medical-moral issues is taken from the book Catholicism & Ethics. Please feel free to use the series for high schoolers or adults. We will continue to welcome your questions for the column as well. The email and postal addresses are given at the end of this column. Special Course On Catholicism And Ethics (Pages 53-59)…Continue Reading

Color Politics An Impediment To Faith

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK The USCCB is rightly concerned about racism, as they should be about any sin. In the 2018 statement Open Wide Our Hearts, they affirm the dignity of every human person: “But racism still profoundly affects our culture, and it has no place in the Christian heart. This evil causes great harm to its victims, and…Continue Reading

Trademarks Of The True Messiah

By MSGR. CHARLES POPE (Editor’s Note: Msgr. Charles Pope posted this essay on September 2, and it is reprinted here with permission.) + + In Sunday’s Gospel the Lord firmly sets before us the need for the cross, not as an end in itself, but as the way to glory. Let’s consider the Gospel in three stages.First: The Pattern That…Continue Reading

A Beacon Of Light… The Holy Cross And Jesus’ Unconditional Love

By FR. RICHARD D. BRETON Each year on September 14 the Church celebrates the Feast Day of the Exultation of the Holy Cross. The Feast Day of the Triumph of the Holy Cross commemorates the day St. Helen found the True Cross. It is fitting then, that today we should focus on the final moments of Jesus’ life on the…Continue Reading

Our Ways Must Become More Like God’s Ways

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Twenty-Fifth Sunday In Ordinary Time (YR A) Readings: Isaiah 55:6-9Phil. 1:20c-24, 27aMatt. 20:1-16a In the first reading today, God tells us through the Prophet Isaiah that His thoughts are not our thoughts and His ways are not our ways. This should not come as a surprise to anyone, especially when we look at what the Lord…Continue Reading

The Devil And The Democrats

By FR. DENIS WILDE, OSA States such as Minnesota, California, Maryland, and others, in all cases with Democrat-controlled legislatures, are on a fast track to not only allow unborn babies to be murdered on demand as a woman’s “constitutional right” but also to allow infanticide.Our nation has gotten so used to the moral evil of killing in the womb that…Continue Reading

Crushed But Unbroken . . . The Martyrdom Of St. Margaret Clitherow

By RAY CAVANAUGH The late-1500s were a tough time for Catholics in England, where the Reformation was in full gear. A 1581 law prohibited Catholic religious ceremonies. And a 1584 Act of Parliament mandated that all Catholic priests leave the country or else face execution. Some chose to remain, however, so they could continue serving the faithful.Also taking huge risks…Continue Reading

Advertisement(2)