Supreme Court Asked to Affirm Pro-Life Pregnancy Centers' Free Speech Rights

June 6, 2014 - 12:31 PM

The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), today asked the U.S. Supreme Court to take a case in which a federal appeals court has upheld portions of a New York City law that targets pro-life pregnancy centers, making it difficult for them to exercise their First Amendment rights.

The ACLJ, which represents two non-profit organizations that operate numerous pro-life crisis pregnancy centers in New York City, filed suit challenging the New York City law that imposes burdensome disclaimer requirements upon crisis pregnancy centers - requirements not required of other centers.

In January, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit agreed with the trial court in holding that two of the law's three disclaimer requirements violate our clients' First Amendment rights. However, by a 2-1 vote, the panel also upheld a third disclaimer requirement and concluded that the law's definition of "pregnancy services center" is not unconstitutionally vague.

"This is a critically important case that focuses on the constitutionally-protected rights of pro-life advocates," said Jay Sekulow, Chief Counsel of the ACLJ. "To permit a law to remain in place that imposes burdensome requirements on crisis pregnancy centers is not only unacceptable but unconstitutional as well. We're hopeful the high court will take the case and put an end to the efforts to silence pro-life pregnancy centers."

The ACLJ also contends the law, which places restrictions only on pro-life crisis pregnancy centers, violates the constitutional protections afforded to individuals and groups by putting the government in charge of regulating speech. If left unchecked, the ACLJ contends the law ". . . opens a jurisprudential Pandora's Box."