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VICTORY! Judge Rules to Protect Rights of Pregnancy Resource Centers

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June 26, 2014

City of Austin ordinance forcing PRCs to post misleading signs declared unconstitutional 



Liberty Institute gained a huge victory this week for clients in Austin, Texas— including the Roman Catholic Diocese of Austin and Catholic Charities of Central Texas, who oversee the Gabriel Project Life Center, as well as the Austin Pregnancy Resource Center and the South Austin Pregnancy Resource Center.

In the case Roman Catholic Diocese of Austin et al v. City of Austin, U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel of the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas Austin Division issued a final judgment and permanent injunction ruling that the Austin city ordinance targeting religious life-affirming groups is unconstitutional.  Finding that the ordinance was void for vagueness, the Court ruled that the City of Austin may not enforce its unconstitutional ordinances against the Diocese and other crisis pregnancy centers

“We are very pleased,” said Jeff Mateer, General Counsel for Liberty Institute.  “Our clients’ First Amendment Rights to free speech and religious exercise and expression have been upheld according to well-established constitutional law and the great work of these pregnancy resource centers to help women make informed decisions will no longer be hindered.”

VIOLATION OF FIRST AMENDMENT RIGHTS

In 2012, Liberty Institute challenged the constitutionality of the Austin ordinance that unfairly targeted PRCs, enforcing them to post false and misleading signs at their front entrances stating what services they do not provide.  Facilities that did provide abortions, however, were not required to post any signs or disclaimers referencing their services or procedures.

Pro-abortion groups such as the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL) and Planned Parenthood have implemented an aggressive strategy to establish these types of ordinances in cities across America.  Austin is the fourth local government in the United States to pass such ordinances, following Baltimore, Montgomery County and New York City, and Federal Courts blocked the enforcement of all three ordinances finding them to be violations of the First Amendment.

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About Liberty Institute
Liberty Institute is a nonprofit legal group dedicated to defending and restoring religious liberty across America — in our schools, for our churches, in the military and throughout the public arena. Liberty’s vision is to reestablish religious liberty in accordance with the principles of our nation’s Founders. For information, visit www.LibertyInstitute.org.

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