Jay Sekulow

Faith & Justice


Round 2: Fight to Prevent Shutdown of Pregnancy Centers Continues

posted by Jay Sekulow

Last week I told you about a major victory in our lawsuit to prevent the shutdown of pro-life pregnancy centers. In a stinging rebuke of the pro-abortion agenda, a federal judge issued a preliminary injunction preventing a law from going into affect that would have effectively shut down pro-life pregnancy centers in New York City, saying that it’s “over-expansiveness is evident from its very language.” 

 

Now, with the support of pro-abortions groups like Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice America, the City of New York has filed its notice of appeal with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, challenging the court’s well reasoned ruling that this law is a violation of our pro-life client’s constitutional rights to free speech.

 

We are preparing to head back to court to defend these pro-life pregnancy centers on appeal so that they can continue doing what they do best – helping women in their hour of need and saving lives.

 

There is no question that this law, which is an attempt by pro-abortion forces to silence the pro-life movement, is unconstitutional.  It would force pro-life advocates to make certain disclosures about abortion and contraception on their buildings, on their advertisements, and verbally to each of their clients – disclosures which violate not only their conscience but their very purpose for existence.

 

The city’s argument, that pro-life pregnancy centers engage in a lesser-protected form of commercial speech, was soundly defeated by the trial court.  The trial court stated:

 

[The city’s] argument – that [pro-life pregnancy centers] engage in commercial speech because they are provided an audience to whom they can espouse their beliefs – is particularly offensive to free speech principles.  While [the government] apparently regard[s] an assembly of people as an economic commodity, this Court does not.  Under such a view, flyers for political rallies, religious literature promoting church attendance, or similar forms of expression would constitute commercial speech merely because they assemble listeners for the speaker.  Accepting that position would permit the Government to inject its own message into virtually all speech designed to advocate a message to more than a single individual and thereby eviscerate the First Amendment’s protections.

 

This is precisely what the First Amendment was designed to protect against, and it is why we filed a federal lawsuit challenging the law and are fighting so aggressively.

 

What is more, the trial court found it “puzzling” that the ACLU would support a law that so obviously flies in the face of the First Amendment.

 

However, the pro-abortion agenda is clear: shut down pro-life pregnancy centers at all cost.  In fact, when Mayor Bloomberg signed this bill into law he said, “It may be unconstitutional, but I am going to sign it anyway.”

 

Groups like the ACLU, Planned Parenthood, and NARAL and pro-abortion legislators are engaged in a concerted effort to use the coercive power of government to promote their abortion agenda.  They are using this New York law as the example for other jurisdictions across the country to follow in an effort to shut down pro-life pregnancy centers.

 

We will continue to defend these pro-life pregnancy centers in New York and with them the right of all pro-life advocates to convey their life-saving message.  As this case moves forward on appeal to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals over the next few months, I will continue to keep you informed.



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