To the Montgomery County Council. In December 2009, you passed your version of the Pro-Life Pregnancy Center Strangulation Bill. Although you are undoubtedly playing cool and coy, you have been served notice of what the pro-life lawyers had tried to tell you during the hearings - that the measure is patently unconstitutional, a blatant violation of the First Amendment.
A few days ago, Judge Marvin Garbis threw Baltimore's regulations into the legislative dung heap for that very reason. With the kind permission of Mr. John Naughton, I'm going to reproduce his letter to you below. As the letter and my following commentary are lengthy, I'll put the break now.
Now here is the letter:
Dear: Montgomery County Maryland Council Members;
Re: Baltimore Ordinance Attacking Pregnancy Centers
In case you are unaware, Marvin J. Garbis, United States District Judge, wrote in his ruling (attached) in the last paragraph on page 2, continuing onto page 3:
"As discussed herein, the Court holds that the Ordinance violates the Freedom of Speech Clause of Article I of the Constitution of the United States and is unenforceable. Whether a provider of pregnancy-related services is “pro-life” or “prochoice,” it is for the provider – not the Government - to decide when and how to discuss abortion and birth-control methods. The Government cannot, consistent with the First Amendment, require a “pro-life” pregnancy-related service center to post a sign as would be required by the Ordinance."
And the last two sentences of page 14:
"It is true that the Ordinance does not directly regulate the content of a limited-service pregnancy center’s
speech in the sense of restricting what it can say. However, requiring the placement of a “disclaimer” sign in the center’s waiting room is, on its face, a form of compelled speech. Moreover, the Ordinance regulates the center’s speech by mandating the timing and content of the introduction of the subjects of abortion and birth-control."
And the last sentence in the first paragraph on page 18:
"The nature of information transmitted by the CENTER includes, by any measure, speech generally afforded the highest level of constitutional protection."
And the last two paragraphs on page 23:
"It is revealing that Defendants refer to the Ordinance as a means of mitigating the “harm” caused by Plaintiffs’ underlying “propaganda” speech relating to abortion and contraception. Such descriptions can only support the conclusion that Defendants enacted the Ordinance out of disagreement with Plaintiffs’ viewpoints on abortion and birth-control.
In sum, the Ordinance regulates fully protected noncommercial speech and is based, at least in part, on
disagreement with the viewpoint of the speaker."
The Montgomery County Council ignored the First Amendment rights of pregnancy centers and voted to specify "when and how" pregnancy centers "discuss abortion" and many of you did this with an unfavorable viewpoint of pregnancy centers. For example, Council member Trachtenberg was quoted in the Washington Post saying that pregnancy centers mislead women. She based her bias solely on erroneous conclusions that abortion was completely safe as promoted by pro abortion ideologues and those who benefit financially from its practice. Several of you were known supporters of MD NARAL supporting the NARAL Chocolate Festival just before introduction and passage of your ordinance attacking pregnancy centers. The Council ignored the reality presented in testimony by pro lifers that abortions can result in serious physical and psychological injury to women and sometimes even death.
Hopefully, we will soon have a judicial ruling on the ordinance passed by a "pro choice Montgomery County Council."
P.S. For another example of Planned Parenthood's disdain for the law governing child prostitution and enabling it, visit: http://www.frcblog.com/2011/02/planned-parenthood-talks-child-prostitution-with-liveaction/
Are you going to make sure this doesn't happen in Montgomery County?
cc: 125+ journalists, NARAL State Affiliates , NOW Chapters, 825 Interested parties
Thus ends Mr. Naughton's letter
Of course the number of "interested parties" will now skyrocket.
I remind all readers that I recorded the hearings and posted these recordings and commentary throughout December 2009 and January 2010. In it are documented the all-too-cozy ties that many of the Council had with NARAL. The hearings were conducted by the Council's Health and Human Service Committee, chaired by George Leventhal - who clearly follows "lock-step" with the NARAL crowd. As evidence, I refer you to this post of mine that details the condescending, contemptuous attitude he displayed towards the pregnancy centers and to the testifier at the moment. Listen to the audioclip; Leventhal's treatment of Ms Linn is nothing short of an outrage.
The ordinance comes right out of NARAL's little playbook "Unmasking Fake Clinics". It was authored by then-Councilwoman Duchy Trachtenberg (D-At Large), whose ties to NOW are well-documented. She and her equally nefarious sidekick, Dana Beyer, were given their pink slips during the last election. Let's do the same to a lot more of these folks in 2014.