Government double standard threatens Baltimore women’s center Woman seeking compassionate care need support, not government intrusion
Ryan Colby 202-349-7219 firstname.lastname@example.org
WASHINGTON, D.C. – A non-profit pregnancy center helping low-income women is being targeted by a discriminatory city ordinance. The Greater Baltimore Center for Pregnancy Concerns, which provides help to women facing unplanned pregnancies, is being forced to display government abortion messaging on the walls of their church-owned property. Fighting to be treated on equal terms with other pregnancy counselors in the area, the Center today asked the court for protection.
In 2009, the city of Baltimore targeted the Center, which operates out of Catholic Church-owned property, demanding they display a sign stating that they “do not provide or make referrals for abortion or birth control services,” even though they already inform women in welcome papers and a lobby sign that they do not offer abortions. Yet the city of Baltimore did not require abortion clinics to display the services they do not offer, such as adoption or prenatal care. This double standard by the city threatens the mission of the Center and their goal to create a comforting and supportive environment for women at a vulnerable time in their lives.
“We spend our time offering love and support to women in need,” said Carol Clews, Executive Director of the Center for Pregnancy Concerns. “That’s help the City should be celebrating, not silencing. I hope that the City will let us get back to serving the women and children of Baltimore.”
The Center helps nearly 10,000 women a year facing unplanned pregnancies. Volunteers help over 1,200 women for free with basic services like pregnancy tests, baby and maternity clothes, parenting classes, and job placement. The Center also counsels over 8,000 local women per year through its 24-hour helpline.
“The Constitution protects the rights of the Center’s small staff and volunteers to practice and express their faith, which includes not only what they say, but also how they say it,” said David Kinkopf, partner at Gallagher Evelius & Jones, which represents the Center.
“The City can say whatever it wants to about abortion. But it can’t use the walls of a church to say it,” said Mark Rienzi, senior counsel at Becket, the non-profit religious liberty law firm also representing the Center.
The Greater Baltimore Center for Pregnancy Concerns is also represented by Peter Basile from Ferguson, Schetelich & Ballew, P.A.
For more information or to arrange an interview with a Becket attorney, please contact Melinda Skea at email@example.com or 202-349-7224. Interviews can be arranged in English, Chinese, French, German, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish.
Becket is a non-profit, public-interest law firm dedicated to protecting the free expression of all religious traditions and has a 100% win-rate before the United States Supreme Court. For over 20 years, it has successfully defended clients of all faiths, including Buddhists, Christians, Jews, Hindus, Muslims, Native Americans, Sikhs, and Zoroastrians (read more here).