Pro-Life Center to Challenge NYC in Court if Pregnancy Bill 371A is Approved

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This Wednesday, New York’s City Council will vote on a bill that tries to dictate what privately funded, pro-life pregnancy centers say to their clients. Council Bill 371A is being pushed by Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who receives political contributions from the abortion industry. The bill demands that pro-life centers insert boilerplate language promoting abortion and contraception into their ads, and even into their conversations with pregnant women. Pro-life leaders charge that the bill violates New Yorkers’ right to free speech, and is designed simply to hamper the operations of pregnancy centers and increase the number of abortions in the city.

“This level of government intrusion in our lives is unprecedented, and will be declared unconstitutional,” said Chris Slattery, founder and President of Expectant Mother Care / EMC Front Line Pregnancy Centers, based in New York. Slattery says his and other pro-life centers will seek a Temporary Restraining Order to block the legislation if it is signed into law.

“Bill 371A is the greatest attack on free speech in modern America,” said Slattery. “The Council proposed this bill without offering any credible pretext for doing so. Incredibly, it requires private citizens to take the government’s viewpoint on a contentious political issue. Why do they think we have a First Amendment?” The bill does not place similar restrictions on the city’s abortion clinics.

Similar legislation restricting private pregnancy centers was enacted in Baltimore City in the fall of 2010. But it was struck down by U.S. Federal Judge Marvin J. Garbis, who ruled, “The Court holds that the Ordinance violates the Freedom of Speech Clause of Article I of the Constitution of the United States and is unenforceable. 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 methods.”

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Judge Garbis said the government cannot “require a ‘pro life’ pregnancy-related service center to post a sign as would be required by the Ordinance.”

Slattery said the pro-life centers’ legal team includes attorneys from New York City and from national public-interest law firms with extensive experience in constitutional issues.

“It’s surprising, but here in America’s abortion capital, the abortion industry fears the competition of a comparative handful of pro-life pregnancy centers,” said Slattery. “The abortionists are using their political cronies on the City Council, such as Speaker Christine Quinn, to try to crush us. If we have to use the courts to enforce our right to tell the truth to our clients, we will.”

An interfaith "Save The Life Centers"coalition of Bill 371A opponents will assemble on Wednesday March 2nd at 12:15pm at Broadway and Wall Street and then march to the Emigrant Savings Bank at 49-51 Chambers St. for a rally lasting till about 1:15pm.

Released by Chris Slattery, Founder and President
Expectant Mother Care / EMC Frontline Pregnancy Centers

Chris Slattery is the founder and president of EMC Frontline Pregnancy Care, which operates 12 walk-in centers in New York City (http://www.emcfrontline.org). He will be attending the NYC Council Women Issue’s Committee meeting at 1pm on Tuesday, March 1, 2011. The meeting will be held at 250 Broadway on the 14th floor. The Women’s Issues Committee is expected to overwhelmingly approve Bill 371A and send it to the full city council for approval. Mr. Slattery will also be available for comment and interviews at that meeting.

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