NARAL Pro-Choice Maryland

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"Crisis Pregnancy Center" Legislation
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Did you know that Maryland was the first state in which cities passed laws requiring fake anti-choice “clinics” to post signs disclosing that they do not provide certain reproductive-health services?

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Maryland is a pro-choice leader
Maryland's strong, pro-choice laws with few restrictions on reproductive rights earn an "A" annually in NARAL Pro-Choice America's rating of states' laws.

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"Crisis Pregnancy Center" Legislation

Crisis Pregnancy Centers (CPCs) are centers are mostly run by anti-choice organizations whose goal is to convince a woman not to have an abortion or, in some cases, even use birth control. CPCs advertise free services to women facing an unplanned pregnancy in order to get them in the door, and then often offer false or misleading information about abortion and birth control. Women deserve to know whether they are at a legitimate health-care facility or an ideologically-based, unregulated "clinic” that does not provide medically accurate information regarding the full range of women’s reproductive-health options. Maryland is at the forefront of the movement to ensure that women have this information.

Baltimore City made history as the first city in the U.S. to pass legislation requiring CPCs to post signs to be upfront about their services and now the City, along with Montgomery County who passed a similar measure, are fighting court battles for the right to protect and inform women.

What's the latest?

The Baltimore City & Montgomery County Fourth Circuit Court decisions returned both cases to the district court, ruling that the district court had not followed the proper procedure in the Baltimore decision and sending the case back to be reheard correctly. The Fourth Circuit upheld a partial injunction on the Montgomery County ordinance, so that half of the ordinance can go into effect and the other half cannot, pending the district court's decision on the ordinance. The dates for the district court cases have not yet been set.

We continue to work with the city and county councils and will keep this page updated as new information becomes available.

 

In case you missed how we got here, below is a timeline of events:

2002

Investigation: Our first investigation of Crisis Pregnancy Centers (Read it here.)

2008

Investigation: We conduct a second, in-depth investigation of CPCs. (The Truth Reveled Report)

2009

Legislation: Working with the Baltimore City Council, we help pass Ordinance 09-0406, making Baltimore city the first place in the country to ask CPCs to disclose the truth about their practices.

Litigation: CPCs challenge the ordinance in court in order to avoid being honest about their services, and the ordinance is not enforced, pending the court's decision.

2010

Legislation: Following the example of Baltimore City, Montgomery County, MD, passes Resolution 16-1252, a similar regulation on pregnancy centers.

Litigation: CPCs challenge the Montgomery legislation. In Baltimore, a district court sides with CPCs. Baltimore City appeals the ruling.

2011

Litigation: A district court sides partially with Montgomery County and partially with CPCs, allowing half of the ordinance to go into effect and enjoining the other half, until the merits of the cases are decided. The decision is appealed.

Investigation: We map out locations of as many CPCs as we can find in Maryland. (Is there a CPC in your neighborhood?)

2012

Litigation: A three judge panel of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals rules 2-1 in favor of CPCs in both Baltimore City and Montgomery County, MD. The majority (Judges Niemeyer and Agee) sided with the CPCs, while Judge King likened the proceedings to a "kangaroo court" and said that the majority "decision is, in a word, indefensible." Baltimore and Montgomery file to have the case heard en banc so that the entire court will hear the case. The court accepts Baltimore's request and oral arguments are heard on December 6, 2012.

2013

Litigation: Baltimore City & Montgomery County en banc decisions come out, sending both cases will back to district court.

The Fourth Circuit ruling on the Baltimore case stated that the lower court’s decision against the ordinance was too hasty and the court had denied the pro-choice defendants the opportunity to submit evidence countering the anti-choice CPC’s claims. The Montgomery County decision applied to the district court’s partial preliminary injunction of the ordinance requiring that CPCs post signs that (1) they do not have medical personnel on staff and (2) the County recommends that pregnant women seek care from a medical professional. The district court, while allowing the first provision to go into effect, had enjoined the second. The Fourth Circuit upheld that decision, and the case against the ordinance’s merits will continue in the district court.


 

 
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