A legal settlement finalized Wednesday ensures that a mobile pregnancy center can operate freely within the city of Elgin. A federal court found a city zoning code unconstitutional in August of last year after city officials used it to shut down access to free pregnancy information and services offered to young women through the mobile ultrasound facility.
Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys together with lead attorneys with the Chicago firm Mauck & Baker, LLC, represent Life Center, which operates the mobile facility under the name of TLC Pregnancy Services.
“Pregnant women are better served when they are fully informed,” said Mauck & Baker attorney Noel W. Sterett, one of nearly 2,300 allied attorneys with Alliance Defending Freedom. “The court’s opinion last year, which expressly recognizes a woman’s right to choose life and be fully informed about her pregnancy, is a rational ruling that we hope everyone can support regardless of their opinion on abortion. TLC’s free services help both the city and its citizens.”
In August, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division, issued a permanent injunction in Life Center v. City of Elgin against the city’s restrictions. The order allowed TLC to continue operating its mobile pregnancy service center at its usual positions at the Evangelical Covenant Church of Elgin and JB’s Pub & Bar, both in close proximity to Elgin Larkin High School.
“Women deserve access to the help they need for themselves and their unborn children without undue interference from the government,” said Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Casey Mattox. “We will continue to work with our allied attorneys around the nation to resist any efforts to stop pregnancy centers from offering help and hope to women.”
In its August opinion, the district court wrote, “The City’s Code is unduly burdensome to the right of a woman to choose life.” After the city appealed the court’s decision, the parties worked together to resolve the matter without further litigation.
The settlement agreement permits TLC to operate freely in Elgin, and the city will amend its disputed zoning ordinance to benefit all charitable mobile services in Elgin and allow them to operate free of charge. Elgin will also compensate TLC for some of its attorneys’ fees. TLC did not seek or receive damages from the settlement other than partial reimbursement for its legal expenses.
“Our main concern was always having the freedom to park TLC’s ultrasound mobile unit in Elgin where the need is the greatest,” said TLC Executive Director Vivian Maly. “We now look ahead to serving the women and families in our community with the support of the leadership in the city of Elgin.”