E-Mails Reveal Maryland Government Officials Collaborating With NARAL To Shut Down Pro-Life Pregnancy Center
Seven Point Plan Suggests a National NARAL Initiative to Shut Down CPCs
Dustin Siggins | LifeSiteNews | January 15, 2015
Emails obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request have revealed that Maryland government officials and activists with the state chapter of NARAL Pro-Choice America have been working closely together on a legal effort to shut down a local pro-life pregnancy care center.
The emails have also revealed a seven-part plan developed by NARAL to shut down pro-life pregnancy care centers that could indicate a nationwide strategy.
In 2010, Montgomery County passed an ordinance requiring Centro Tepeyac Silver Spring Women’s Center and other pro-life pregnancy care clinics to post signs stating that they did not have doctors on staff. The county claimed it wanted to prevent pro-life clinics from giving women misleading information.
Represented by the Alliance Defending Freedom, Centro fought the ordinance, which did not apply to abortion clinics. On April 30, 2014, Montgomery County dropped its defense of the law after a third decision against it on March 7, in which U.S. District Judge Deborah Chasanow, a Clinton appointee, noted that the people who accused the centers of spreading “misinformation” were “universally volunteers from a pro-choice organization sent to investigate practices” at the centers.
The emails obtained by LifeSiteNews reveal that, unbeknownst to the public, Montgomery County dropped the case after conferring with NARAL. The county stopped defending the law the month after NARAL recommended that very action in a March 14, 2014 letter, sent a week after the judge permanently blocked the law.
“It is our hope that the Montgomery County Council (Council) will once again partner with us to ensure Montgomery Council citizens are aware of the misleading tactics used by crisis pregnancy centers,” Maryland’s NARAL chapter president, Jodi Finkelstein, wrote.
In the letter, sent by the county to LifeSiteNews along with other emails through a Freedom of Information Act request, Finkelstein “strongly” recommended that the county drop the case and implement seven other strategies.
Those strategies include:
- Prosecuting volunteers and employees of pregnancy care centers for “consumer protection violations”;
- Forbidding Centro from “participating in advertising” that county officials deem “untrue or misleading”;
- Allowing women who claim they were “harmed by limited-service pregnancy centers to collect monetary damages” from women’s centers;
- Denying taxpayer funding to crisis pregnancy centers;
- Instructing county officials not to refer women to CPCs for ultrasounds or to “very clearly differentiate the centers from legitimate medical providers”;
- Having the county undertake a “public awareness campaign” against pregnancy centers; and
- The regulation of ultrasound practices.
“We are pleased to offer our continued assistance in any way as you move forward,” Finkelstein writes.
- See a PDF file of the emails LifeSiteNews obtained here. Finkelstein’s letter is on pages 5-7.
George Leventhal, the current Montgomery County Council president, followed up on NARAL’s recommendations in an email March 16, 2014 asking staff to take action. He told Finkelstein he was “copying Uma Ahluwalia, director of the Department of Health and Human Services, on this reply with a request that she let me know whether county funds are currently supporting limited-service pregnancy centers and under what terms and conditions women are referred to such centers.”
“I am also asking Amanda Mahill of the County Council staff to research federal regulations referenced in your letter governing the use of ultrasounds,” he added. Continue reading