Health Law

4th Circuit Agrees to Hear Pregnancy Center Case En Banc

The Richmond, Va.-based 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has agreed to rehear en banc a case involving a law that requires anti-abortion pregnancy centers to post ads encouraging clients to consult with medical professionals.

The court set a Dec. 6 oral argument date for the rehearing after a divided panel ruling, Bloomberg News reports.

In the underlying case, Centro Tepeyac, a Silver Spring, Md., Catholic pregnancy center, sued Montgomery County over an ordinance requiring them to display advisories disclosing that there weren’t medical professionals on site. The advisories also encourage the women to consult a licensed health-care provider.

Centro Tepeyac maintains that the law violates its First Amendment rights.

The lower court ruled that while the center must include an advisory that medical professionals aren’t on staff, it said the signage doesn’t need to include advice to seek medical consultation.

In its request for rehearing, Bloomberg reports that Montgomery County officials argued, “There is substantial legislative evidence that pregnancy centers that are not staffed by licensed medical professionals represent a threat to women’s health.”

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