Yesterday, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit was the first circuit court to rule on government mandates requiring pregnancy centers to post disclaimers and disclosures, declaring that such mandates violate freedom of speech, a constitutional right.
“The Fourth Circuit Court’s decision is a victory for Centro Tepeyac and other Heartbeat International affiliated pregnancy help centers that are rescuing children who were once at risk of abortion by providing practical help and emotional support to mothers who often have been abandoned and abused,” said Heartbeat International President Peggy Hartshorn, Ph.D. “This decision upholding our freedom of speech affirms the life-saving work of pregnancy centers and the importance of providing alternatives to abortion.”
The first case ruled upon by the court was Centro Tepeyac v. Montgomery County; Montgomery County Council, et al, No. 11-1314 (4th Cir. 6/27/2012) in which the county passed a resolution requiring limited service pregnancy centers to display a sign bearing two statements: “The Center does not have a licensed medical professional on staff. Montgomery County Health Officer encourages women who are or may be pregnant to consult with a licensed health care provider.”
The second case, Greater Baltimore Center for Pregnancy Concerns et al v. Mayor and City Council of Baltimore, et al, No. 11-1111 (4th Cir. 6/27/2012) originated from Baltimore, which involved a city ordinance mandating pregnancy help organizations to post signage in two languages that “the center does not perform or refer for abortions or birth control services.”
The Fourth Circuit Court slapped down both government mandates as violations of free speech, applying strict scrutiny to its analysis of both laws.
The Court applied the same reasoning to both laws:
These rulings signal a strong victory for pregnancy help organizations, not only in Maryland, but across the country, as challenges are raised to similar attempts in other jurisdictions.
By Virginia Cline
I remember my father’s tears on January 22, 1973. It was the first time I had ever seen him cry.
I was 11 years old when I found him crumpled up on the stairs, shuddering, with his folded hands pressed to his face as he sobbed. I will never forget how he was curled up in the fetal position as he wept. It took him no less than 10 minutes to choke out the fact that seven men on the U.S. Supreme Court had decided it should be legal for a mother to abort her baby.
On that particularly bleak Monday afternoon, he cried for the millions of babies he knew would die at the hand of Roe v. Wade.
How could we fail to acknowledge the more than 54 million children aborted in the United States alone since the insidious Roe v. Wade decision on Jan. 22, 1973—the most tragic and unforgettable date in U.S. history?
Since the upcoming presidential inauguration is planned for Monday, Jan. 21, 2013, the 40th annual March for Life was moved to Friday, Jan. 25, leaving the anniversary itself without acknowledgement. Heartbeat International and at least 10 other partnering pro-life organizations—including March for Life—did not want the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade to pass by without a national day of prayer and fasting, so RememberingRoe.com was launched.
RememberingRoe.com promotes a day of remembrance and hosts a variety of interactive tools and includes an opportunity to sign up for a national hour of prayer via webcast, led by the National Pro-life Religious Council on Jan. 22, 2013, beginning at 3 p.m. EST.
The site is also the vehicle for a national campaign that seeks to send 1.2 million red pro-life postcards to the president in honor of the 1.2 million victims of abortion in the U.S. each year. For a small donation, visitors can sign up for a red card—personalized with their name—to be delivered to the White House on Jan. 22, 2013, sending the leader of the free world a positive message about the sanctity of every human life from those he represents.
Forty years of destroying life in the womb is the battle that defines our society. The false “choice” of aborting a child has endangered our very civilization by attacking the dignity of human life and by denigrating motherhood. The escalating evil of abortion calls for a supernatural response, and so we challenge every pro-life individual to kneel together as one nation under God, and call upon Him as we remember, reflect, repent and plead for restoration on the anniversary of this disastrous turning point.
Prayer is the strongest weapon against the evil that is abortion. Our hope is that members of the pro-life movement call upon God—the Giver of Life—in prayer and fasting together as we fight for the sanctity of life in America. As the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade approaches, visitors are encouraged to post prayers on RememberingRoe.com, leading to greater unity among members of the pro-life community.
There’s also a place at the site to share your story of how you first heard about Roe v. Wade. Some of us are old enough to remember exactly where we were when we learned about the now-infamous U.S. Supreme Court decision. Those born after Roe—rightly called “abortion survivors”—are also invited to share reflections on when and how they learned that the Supreme Court had declared it a “right” for every woman to choose to abort her baby.
My pro-life passion was ignited Jan. 22, 1973, after witnessing my father’s heartbreak and hearing his cries: “I could have done more. I should have done more to stop abortion.”
Imagine if our stories listed online at RememberingRoe.com inspired Christians everywhere to do more to help each mother reject the “choice” to abort her child!
The goal of RememberingRoe.com—and the goal of Heartbeat International—is to make abortion unwanted now and unthinkable for future generations. The Holy Spirit has the power to kindle the fire of compassionate love within us, so that the pro-life movement can renew the face of the earth for LIFE. Let us unite so that we may never forget.
For a listing of Pregnancy Help Centers, see the Worldwide Directory--an online directory of life affirming service providers around the world.
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