National Catholic Register

Blogs

Baltimore Archdiocese Sues to Protect Pro-Life Free Speech

BY Danielle Bean

| Posted 4/9/10 at 8:18 AM

 

This is one of those stories that leaves you wondering what the pro-choice crowd will come up with next. Have you heard about the laws in Baltimore (and now Austin!) that target the free speech and exercise of religion rights of pro-life pregnancy care centers?

The Greater Baltimore Center for Pregnancy Concerns is one target of recent city legislation requiring pro-life organizations to post signs stating that they do not provide abortion services or birth control.

The Archdiocese of Baltimore, which donates space to the pregnancy center, isn’t taking the legal bullying lying down. They’re suing:

“The lawsuit claims that pro-life groups are targeted by this ordinance which ‘targets for speech regulation only one side of a contentious public, political debate.’ ... ‘Filing a federal lawsuit against the city is a big step and we wish the city had not put us in this position,’ Mr. Caine said. “However, the principles at issue are so important and the ordinance so clearly violates the law that we felt we needed to file the lawsuit. We believe the ordinance targets these centers because of their pro-life mission.’

The archdiocese also asserts the signs are forcing the CPCs to lie. The CPCs do provide birth control - in a fashion - it said in the lawsuit, in terms of abstinence and natural family planning (NFP), a system by which couples time their sexual intimacy according to a woman’s monthly cycle. It quotes a federal Department of Health and Human Services Web site as asserting that NFP and abstinence both constitute birth control.”

If truth in advertising of services is really a concern here, I think truthful signs should be required at abortion clinics too. How do “We won’t help you keep your baby” or “We won’t report cases of child rape” or “We will hide facts about your body and your baby’s development from you” sound?

Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, the “pro-choice” city council president who introduced this ordinance in the first place, has since gone on to become mayor of Baltimore (Congratulate her—she’s going to be a “special guest” at Planned Parenthood-Maryland’s upcoming gala fundraiser event!).

With that kind of connection and cash flow, I don’t know what this law suit’s chances are for finding success. However it turns out, though, I am gratified to see the archdiocese standing up for the rights of the little guys—pro-lifers who truly care about and support women and their babies.