Expectant Mother Care / EMC Frontline Sues NYC in Federal Court Challenging Constitutionality of Law Targeting Crisis Pregnancy Centers
Lawsuit Seeks Immediate and Permanent Injunctive Relief from Pregnancy Services Center Ordinance and Asks the Court to Declare Law Unconstitutional
Contact: Chris Slattery, Founder and President, Expectant Mother Care / EMC Frontline Pregnancy Centers, 212-213-4690, 914-224-5773; [email protected]
NEW YORK, March 25, 2011 /Christian Newswire/ -- The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) filed suit yesterday on behalf of Expectant Mother Care / EMC Frontlines' twelve (12) pregnancy care centers across New York City and The Life Center of New York's facility located in Brooklyn.
"We are excited to be finally getting our opportunity for justice after a horrific five month legislative battle with New York City government. We filed a civil rights action pursuant to 42 USC 1983 challenging the constitutionality of the ordinance known as the Pregnancy Services Center law," stated Chris Slattery, founder and President of EMC Frontline.
The lawsuit contends the ordinance violates the constitutionally protected rights to freedom of speech, freedom of assembly and association, freedom of the press, and due process of law, guaranteed to the Plaintiffs by the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, as well as the New York State Constitution.
"Since this ordinance was first proposed, we have put the city council and the mayor on notice that it was unconstitutional and that we were prepared to challenge it immediately if passed. We're now moving forward with that challenge," said CeCe Heil, ACLJ Senior Counsel.
"This measure is troubling because it violates crisis pregnancy centers' First and Fourteenth Amendment rights, specifically protected by the constitution. We are committed to protecting the rights of our clients and are urging the federal court to halt implementation of this ordinance and declare it unconstitutional. Similar ordinances have already been struck down in federal court and we have no doubt that this ordinance will be rejected as well," continued Ms. Heil.
The lawsuit (Case No.: 11CIV2055) was filed in the Southern District of New York and will be heard by United States Federal Judge William H. Pauley.
The ACLJ asks the court to keep the ordinance from being implemented while the lawsuit proceeds. The suit seeks injunctive relief, in the form of preliminary and permanent injunctions, and urges the court to declare the law unconstitutional. The ACLJ is being assisted in the case by Christopher A. Ferrara, New York Litigation Counsel to American Catholic Lawyers Association, who is serving as local counsel.
"It is an outrage that in the city with the most abortions, the highest rate of abortion, and the most abortionists in America, we are being crushed by a new ordinance which will, in the end, increase the number and rate of abortions. We are witnessing the crippling of the first and fourteenth amendment rights of private non-profit service agencies that provide free services to distraught and disadvantaged expectant mothers. In the last 26 years, EMC has successfully served over 40,000 girls and women who chose life who otherwise would have had an abortion," said Mr. Slattery.
"We have no choice but to vigorously defend our freedom to tell our story to the mothers of New York about the alternatives to abortions available through our own designed advertising, signage, and face to face life saving messages. Not with compelled speech ordered by the NYC government. The record shows there has never been a single lawsuit or complaint filed against either plaintiff for false or deceptive advertising or breach of confidentiality by a single client served since 1985. EMC Frontline and The Life Center of New York have served in excess of 140,000 clients over the past 26 years without a single complaint to the Health Department, Consumer Affairs, or the Police department," stated Chris Slattery in closing.
Chris Slattery is founder and President of EMC Frontline Pregnancy Care, which operates 12 walk-in centers in New York City (www.emcfrontline.org). Chris can be reached by phone at (212) 213-4690 or (914) 224-5773 and by email at [email protected].
(A Copy of the ACLJ Lawsuit is Available upon Request)