Liberty Institute Applauds Victory In Maryland Pregnancy Resource Centers Cases
Attorneys Submit Advisory Letter to U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas In Hopes It Will Similarly Declare City of Austin Ordinance Targeting Pro-Life PRCs Unconstitutional
AUSTIN, Texas, June 28, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Yesterday, Liberty Institute filed an advisory letter to the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas in response to favorable rulings by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals declaring unconstitutional two ordinances requiring Maryland pro-life pregnancy resource centers (PRCs) to post disclaimers on their premises. Following a bench trial in April, Liberty Institute awaits a similar ruling from the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas involving the constitutionality of a recently enacted ordinance targeting four PRCs in Austin, Texas.
In the case Austin LifeCare et al. v. City of Austin, Liberty Institute represents the Roman Catholic Diocese of Austin and Catholic Charities of Central Texas, which oversee the Gabriel Project Life Center, as well as the Austin Pregnancy Resource Center and the South Austin Pregnancy Resource Center. Similar to the ordinances at issue in the Maryland cases, the Austin ordinance unfairly requires PRCs to post a sign at their front entrances with misleading messages about their services and licensing. However, facilities providing or facilitating abortions are not required to post signs or disclaimers that reference their services or licenses.
"We are hopeful that the district court will, likewise, find the Austin ordinance unconstitutional because it closely mirrors the ordinances struck down in the Maryland cases," said Jeff Mateer, Liberty Institute's general counsel. "The city of Austin's ordinance violates our clients' First Amendment Constitutional rights, including the rights to free speech and to the freedom of religion."
Austin is one of five local governmental units in the United States to pass an ordinance targeting PRCs. Similar ordinances have passed in Baltimore, MD; Montgomery County, MD; San Francisco, CA; and New York City, NY. In Baltimore, Montgomery County and New York City, federal courts have blocked the enforcement of all the ordinances, finding them to be violations of the First Amendment.
About Liberty Institute
Liberty Institute is a nonprofit legal group dedicated to defending and restoring religious liberty across America — in our schools, for our churches and throughout the public arena. Liberty's vision is to reestablish religious liberty in accordance with the principles of our nation's Founders. For information, visit www.LibertyInstitute.org.
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