Crisis pregnancy centers in New York are claiming a victory in round one in the state's latest legal battle over abortion.
New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer said Thursday, February 28, he is withdrawing the subpoenas that he issued in January. The subpoenas demanded that crisis pregnancy centers turn over reams of information about their operating procedures to determine whether the centers have engaged in "false advertising and deceptive business practices" and the unlicensed practice of medicine.
The subpoenas covered 24 pregnancy centers and also demanded the names of all staff members, their credentials, training materials, promotional information, and all policies relating to client referrals.
Attorneys for the centers recently filed petitions to quash the subpoenas in seven separate state courts. They argue that the attorney general lacks evidence and is attempting to regulate non-commercial speech and the right to free association, protected under the Constitution. They say that Spitzer's legal actions stem from his close ties with the abortion-rights movement.
"We hope this outcome in the abortion capital of the United States sends a clear message nationwide that Pregnancy Resource Centers will no longer allow their First Amendment rights to be trammeled," chief litigation counsel Nathan Adams of the Christian Legal Society said in a statement. Adams is representing five of the subpoenaed centers and three national parent organizations.
"This is an unexpected victory for the crisis pregnancy centers and for the First Amendment," says Vincent McCarthy, senior counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice, which represents one of five pregnancy centers targeted by the attorney general.
Spitzer spokesman Darren ...1
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