Today, the Supreme Court declined to weigh into a case that had the potential to cripple or even shut down pro-life pregnancy centers in New York City.
Thankfully, the ruling of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in Evergreen Association v. City of New York, which now stands as the final arbiter of the case, struck down two of three of the provisions of the law that we challenged as unconstitutional. Though that court stopped short of striking the entire law, it now stands as merely a shell of the law initially proposed by abortion radicals to shutdown the lifesaving work of pro-life pregnancy centers.
Essentially, this pro-abortion New York City ordinance (which serves as a test case for similar provisions proposed by the abortion industry across the country) would have turned pro-life pregnancy centers into a propaganda wing of the abortion industry.
In 2011 abortion radicals and the abortion industry lobbied the city council of the abortion capital of America, New York City, to pass draconian legislation aimed at shutting down their competition – pro-life pregnancy centers. As I’ve previously described:
The ordinance would force crisis pregnancy centers to express – communicate to women in need – opinions about abortion that they not only disagree with but that cut at the very core of their mission – to help women and save lives. The law essentially seeks to make pro-life centers become abortion advocates.
To refuse to obey these draconian, anti-life regulations would subject these pro-life organizations to crippling fines and penalties. This ordinance, and those like it being considered elsewhere in the country, would either cause these pro-life centers to shutdown or effectively shut down their pro-life message. These types of regulations clearly violate the First Amendment free speech rights of pro-life groups.
We represent a majority of the crisis pregnancy centers in New York City in challenging this pro-abortion law, Local Law 17.
The Second Circuit struck down two of the most troubling provisions compelling speech regarding abortion and abortion related services, including in their own advertisements promoting life, which contravene the very purpose of these pro-life centers’ existence. Today’s denial of review by the Supreme Court keeps the Second Circuit’s injunction against these provisions in place. It prevents the abortion industry from silencing pro-life speech – and in fact keeps them from converting pro-life speech into pro-abortion propaganda – allowing them to continue saving the lives of countless unborn babies.
The one provision of this law that the Second Circuit upheld merely “requires pregnancy services centers to disclose if they have a licensed medical provider on staff.” While the denial of review of this provision is disappointing, it pales in comparison to the outrageously unconstitutional provisions that have been successfully struck down.
The fact remains that pro-life speech is still protected speech in America, and try as they might, the abortion industry in its deadly quest for profits cannot use the coercive power of government to squeeze out the competition.
It’s ironic that the supposed proponents of “choice” fight so hard to make the choice for life nearly impossible for women in need to make.
Pro-life pregnancy centers will continue to provide women in need the care, comfort, and compassion they deserve, while saving the unborn – one life at a time.
Matthew Clark is Associate Counsel for Government Affairs and Media Advocacy with the ACLJ in the Washington, D.C. headquarters.
Used with the permission of the American Center for Law and Justice.