Baltimore City Council Takes First Step to Target Pregnancy Centers Over Abortion

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 5, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Baltimore City Council Takes First Step to Target Pregnancy Centers Over Abortion

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
November 5
, 2009

Baltimore, MD (LifeNews.com) — The Baltimore City Council has taken the first step in favor of a proposal that would target pregnancy centers by making them post a sign saying they do not offer abortions or provide contraception. It contains no stipulations for abortion centers saying they don’t provide alternatives.

City Council Bill 09-0406 would fine pregnancy centers $500 per day if they do not comply with the city ordinance.

Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and 10 members of the council are sponsoring a measure that pro-life advocates say is at the behest of Planned Parenthood and NARAL and is in the council’s judiciary committee.

Rob Warlick of the Family Protection Lobby writes that the bill 09-0406 passed the city’s Judiciary and Legislative committee this past Monday and now moves to second reading before the entire City Council, which is slated for November 16.

"A public hearing was held Tuesday October 27th in the Judiciary and Legislative Committee at City Hall. Representatives from NARAL and Planned Parenthood testified in support of the Harassment Bill (groups that are protected from any effect of the legislation)," Warlick writes.

Derek McCoy from the Association of Maryland Families testified before the city council and said this legislation was unnecessary, unfair, and unjust.

"In addition, others from a coalition of pro-life citizens, organizations and legal groups gave testimony in opposition to the bill as well and continued to levy the concern of this bill being uncalled for and excessive," Warlick writes.

Amendments were offered to adjust the language of the bill. President Rawlings-Blake’s amendments were passed, which now lowers the daily fine to $150 and will now allow notification before enacting the daily penalty.

Bishop Denis J. Madden, who spoke on behalf of the Archbishop of Baltimore, opposed the bill.

"This bill is not about the abortion debate. This bill is about truth in advertising," he said. "This bill would raise widespread and unnecessary controversy for the City Council and be a distraction for those important issues like high crime rates, supporting schools and budget woes."

Jay Schwartz of the Maryland Catholic Conference added: "You’ve gone too far. Unlike the state bill of a couple years ago, your OB/GYN offices would have to post a sign, and given the definition in the bill, a maternity shop would have to post a sign."

According to the Catholic Review, Councilman Robert Curran asked representatives several times if abortion businesses would be required to post signs listing what services they will not give to pregnant women.

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