(PRESS RELEASE) This afternoon, a hearing took place in the City of Baltimore’s and Center for Reproductive Rights‘ case defending a first-in-the-nation ordinance that demands truth in advertising from limited service pregnancy centers, also known as crisis pregnancy centers.
The hearing was held at the U.S. District Court in the District of Maryland in Baltimore at 2pm, Eastern and revolved around the City’s motion to dismiss O’brien v. Mayor and City Council of Baltimore.
Crisis pregnancy centers, are non-medical facilities that counsel pregnant women against using abortion and birth control services. Often, they advertise themselves as abortion or family planning clinics to lure women seeking those services to their facilities. The Baltimore ordinance requires the pregnancy centers to post signs in their waiting rooms indicating that they do not provide or make referral for abortion or comprehensive birth control services. In March, the Archbishop of Baltimore, together with one of its parishes and the Greater Baltimore Center for Pregnancy Concerns, Inc., filed a federal lawsuit against Baltimore City, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, the Acting Health Commissioner and Baltimore City Health Department, seeking to invalidate the ordinance.
On June 8, the City asked the court to dismiss the case, arguing that the Archbishop’s claims are not supported by the facts or the law. The ordinance protects women from deceptive advertising and ensures that women seeking birth control or abortion services have prompt access to those services. The Center for Reproductive Rights, a longtime advocate for reproductive health and rights, is lending its expertise to the City.