US District Court Judge Deborah Chasanow issued an opinion stating that Montgomery County, MD can no longer require crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs) to post signs encouraging women who may be pregnant to seek the attention of a licensed medical practitioner. Judge Chasanow upheld the portion of the law stating that CPCs must display signs in their waiting rooms stating, “The Center does not have a licensed medical professional on staff.”
Centro Tepeyac Women’s Center, a CPC in Silver Spring, MD, filed the lawsuit against the county alleging that law violates the First Amendment. The Montgomery County Council is expected to meet this week about whether it will appeal the ruling.
Currently, there are an estimated 3,500 CPCs nationwide, most of which are affiliated with one or more national umbrella organizations. CPCs often pose as comprehensive health centers and offer “free” pregnancy tests. Some CPCs coerce and intimidate women out of considering abortion as an option, and do not offer women neutral or comprehensive medical advice. Often CPCs are run by anti-abortion zealots who are not licensed medical professionals.