(REVISED 9.23.2016) The Center for Reproductive Rights has joined the City
of Baltimore to defend a first-in-the-nation ordinance that demands
truth in advertising from limited-service pregnancy centers, also known as crisis pregnancy centers. These centers advertise themselves as abortion or family planning clinics to lure women seeking those services to their facilities and then discourage them from having abortions or using birth control.
The Baltimore ordinance requires the pregnancy centers to post signs in
their waiting rooms indicating that they do not provide or make referrals
for abortion or comprehensive birth control services.
In March, 2010, the Greater Baltimore Center for Pregnancy Concerns, Inc.,
filed a federal lawsuit against the City of Baltimore, seeking to invalidate the ordinance. The Center for Reproductive Rights is assisting the City in defending the law.
Plaintiff(s): Greater Baltimore Center for Pregnancy Concerns, Inc.
Defendant(s): Mayor of Baltimore, Baltimore City Health Commissioner, Baltimore City Health Department
Co-Counsel/Cooperating Attorneys: Suzanne Sangree, City of Baltimore Law Department
Summary: The Center is working with Baltimore city officials to win landmark protections for women from false
advertising tactics, and from the great
risks to women’s health and well-being that comes with this dishonesty.
The lawsuit was filed in federal court on March 29, 2010. On January 28, 2011, the district court granted summary judgment in favor of the Greater Baltimore Center for Pregnancy Concerns. The City of Baltimore appealed the decision and a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit heard oral arguments on the appeal in March 2012. On June 27, 2012, a divided panel affirmed the district court’s decision. The City successfully petitioned for the case to be reheard in front of the full Fourth Circuit and oral arguments took place in front of the Court in December 2012. On July 3, 2013, the full Fourth Circuit vacated the summary judgment granted in favor of the Plaintiffs, and remanded the case back to the district court for further proceedings. Discovery is now complete and both parties have moved for summary judgment. A hearing on the motions for summary judgment took place on August 18, 2016.