Thursday morning the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, in which Virginia resides, heard oral arguments in two cases from Maryland concerning the unnecessary and unconstitutional regulation of pregnancy care centers. The cases stem from regulations passed in Baltimore and Montgomery County, that require PCCs to post signs and have personnel tell clients that they don't perform abortions, among other things. Essentially, it is the government compelling people in their private conversations to say specific things, a blatant violation of first amendment freedoms, which is likely why the PCCs have won in every court case so far, including an earlier 2-1 ruling by a three-judge panel in the Fourth Circuit. Attorneys for the PCCs said this would be a first of its kind violation of free speech if it's upheld in the courts.
But as we know in Virginia, the abortion industry's visceral hatred for anything that competes with its bottom line or offers an alternative to abortion is met with harassment and hostility. You may recall the effort by the abortion industry to regulate PCCs in Virginia just two years ago; an effort based on an "investigative report" by NARAL that was so void of fact or academic rigor that, after two hours of testimony by PCC leaders and clients, the patron of the legislation that would have regulated PCCs, Dr. Ralph Northam, a Democrat senator from Norfolk now running for lieutenant governor, asked that the subcommittee to defeat his own bill! How anyone can take NARAL's word on anything after that day is simply mind boggling.
But truth, facts and logic are no obstacle for the abortion industry. The mainstream media is so sympathetic to its cause that it can't bring itself to report about the bloody exam tables at abortion centers but is more than happy to complain that PCCs don't offer abortion. Consequently, these battles for life are bound to continue. In fact, PCCs are not health care facilities at all and don't do medical procedures, but offer counseling and support services, and referrals to doctors and medical facilities.
The cases should be decided by the court in the next eight to 10 weeks. The cases were heard "en banc," or by the full court, and those present didn't see any clear indication from all the judges on which way the case will go.
After the hearing, we were thrilled to co-host a brief luncheon with Americans United for Life for several of the attorneys involved in the case and pro-life advocates. As always, we are so very grateful to AUL and the Alliance Defending Freedom for their advocacy on behalf of life, and all their great work. We are honored to have such Godly and capable partners in this work!