A quiet victory for life — and the First Amendment

by Gary Bauer/Human Events

June 28, the day the U.S. Supreme Court upheld key parts of Obamacare, was a bad day for pro-life advocates, and for the First Amendment.

While the legal battle continues, the court decision removed one of the few remaining barriers preventing the Obama administration from implementing its contraceptive mandate, an egregious violation of the First Amendment’s guarantee of religious freedom that requires most religious employers to provide free contraceptives, sterilizations and abortion-inducing drugs to their employees.

But the day before the much-heralded Obamacare decision, another court case was decided that has important implications for the First Amendment and the pro-life cause. The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Montgomery County, Maryland, cannot force a pro-life pregnancy center to post a public disclaimer that discourages pregnant women from using its services.

In 2010, the Montgomery County Council approved a regulation forcing Centro Tepeyac Women’s Center, located just north of Washington, D.C., to post signs in English and Spanish stating, “The Center does not have a licensed medical professional on staff,” and “the Montgomery County Health Officer encourages women who are or may be pregnant to consult with a licensed health care provider.”

If Tepeyac refused to post the sign, it would have been subject to fines of as much as $750 a day, a steep price for a center run on a shoe-string budget. So, with the help of lawyers from the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF), Tepeyac sued Montgomery County.

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