Greater Baltimore Center for Pregnancy Concerns v. Mayor and City Council of Baltimore

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Thursday, August 21, 2014

Description:  In a highly irregular move, the Baltimore City Council subpoenaed four national pro-life organizations, not located in Maryland, in a lawsuit in which they have no involvement. The city and the pro-abortion law firm Center for Reproductive Rights have demanded access to the organizations’ private files to help the city defend an ordinance that forces pregnancy resource centers in Baltimore to post signs discouraging women from using their services.


Baltimore attempting to drag pro-life groups into court

ADF attorney available for media interviews following hearing Friday
Thursday, August 21, 2014

Attorney sound bite:  Matt Bowman

WHO: ADF Senior Legal Counsel Matt Bowman
WHAT: Available for media interviews following hearing in Greater Baltimore Center for Pregnancy Concerns v. Mayor and City Council of Baltimore
WHEN: Friday, Aug. 22, immediately following hearing, which begins at 2:15 p.m. EDT
WHERE: U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, Edward A. Garmatz Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse, Courtroom 5C, 101 W. Lombard St., Baltimore

BALTIMORE – Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Legal Counsel Matt Bowman will be available for media interviews Friday immediately following his oral argument in federal court on behalf of four pro-life organizations. In a highly irregular move, the Baltimore City Council subpoenaed the groups, not located in Maryland, in a lawsuit in which they have no involvement.

The city and the pro-abortion law firm Center for Reproductive Rights have demanded access to the organizations’ private files to help the city defend an ordinance that forces pregnancy resource centers in Baltimore to post signs discouraging women from using their services.

“No government or pro-abortion group has the right to invade the privacy of national pro-life organizations simply to grind an ideological axe,” said Bowman. “This fishing expedition is all the more worse because the city, which passed an ordinance against free speech within its borders, is now targeting the free speech of pro-life groups nationwide. This is nothing less than an abuse of power meant to intimidate groups to which the city is ideologically opposed.”

ADF represents pro-life organizations Care Net, Heartbeat International, the National Institute of Family and Life Advocates, and Vitae Foundation.

The hearing concerns a June 12 motion to quash the subpoenas in Greater Baltimore Center for Pregnancy Concerns v. Mayor and City Council of Baltimore. That motion, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, Northern Division, argued, “The City’s subpoenas exacerbate its First Amendment hostility by infringing on the freedom of expressive association of the Organizations. Their documents and testimony are being demanded not because they are regulated by the Ordinance (they are not) but because the Organizations reside on the opposite side of the abortion debate.”

The motion also explained, “No group of citizens can associate behind a common expressive cause if, for that reason alone, the government can demand they disclose their communications, their sources of revenue and donors, their organizational structure and the way in which they pursue their advocacy goals as they vie against competing viewpoints in the public square.”
 
  • Pronunciation guide: Bowman (BOH-min')

Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization that advocates for the right of people to freely live out their faith.


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Additional resources: Greater Baltimore Center for Pregnancy Concerns v. Mayor and City Council of Baltimore

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Thursday, August 21, 2014

Previous news releases:

  • 2014-06-13: Md. city council targets pro-life groups with demands for private files
  • 2012-06-28: 4th Circuit: No government-controlled speech at Md. pregnancy resource centers
  • 2011-06-08: Opposition mounts against Baltimore ordinance that targets pregnancy care centers

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