Abortion Sign Unconstitutional

February 16th, 2011
Abortion Sign Unconstitutional

Without doubt, if there is one issue that causes much angst and heated debate in the United States, it’s abortion.

This debate took a further twist recently when a federal judge decided that a sign at faith based pregnancy centres saying they won’t help clients get an abortion was unconstitutional.

The debate began a year ago when Baltimore Mayor, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake sponsored a bill in her then capacity of City Council president, requiring pregnancy centres to install a sign. The sign read something along the lines of: “the centre does not refer clients for abortion or birth control.”

However Federal District Judge Marvin J. Garbis deemed this contravenes free speech and was therefore unconstitutional and against the law.

Judge Garbis wrote: “Whether a provider of pregnancy-related services is ‘pro-life’ or ‘pro-choice,’ it is for the provider — not the government — to decide when and how to discuss abortion and birth-control method.

“The Government cannot, consistent with the First Amendment, require a ‘pro-life’ pregnancy-related service centre to post a sign.”

The Judge’s statement was welcomed by the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Baltimore, Edwin F O’Brien who responded to the ruling saying: “The important and compassionate work of these pro-life pregnancy centres to continue without interference from Baltimore City.”

In a statement, O’Brien said, “The ruling also upholds the constitutional rights under the First Amendment that protect private citizens such as those who work and volunteer in pregnancy centres from having to convey a government-mandated message.”

The irony of this is that the aim of the sign was to inform women who wanted an abortion, that the pregnancy centre wouldn’t help them.

This ruling gives anti abortionists another small victory.

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