Austin City Council Repeals Unconstitutional Ordinance, Passes Another

January 30, 2012

Liberty Institute, on behalf of three Austin, TX-area pregnancy resource centers, opposed an unconstitutional and newly proposed city ordinance requiring pregnancy centers, under the threat of criminal penalties, to disclose government-mandated information about their services at their front entrances—information the pregnancy centers already provide to women inside their facilities. At the council meeting last Thursday, the Council voted to repeal the first ordinance. The Council then voted, however, to enact a newly proposed ordinance that suffers from many of the same constitutional defects.

“We are disappointed that the Austin City Council passed the amended ordinance and disregarded the Constitution, the holdings of three Federal District Courts, and discriminated against charitable pregnancy centers that serve the women of Austin,” said Erin Leu, attorney with the Liberty Institute. “The amended ordinance is a blatant violation of the First Amendment. We are confident that the Federal Court will strike it down as unlawful.”

Since the Austin City Council chose to pass the new proposal, Liberty Institute’s clients, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Austin, Catholic Charities of Central Texas, the Austin Pregnancy Resource Center, and the South Austin Pregnancy Resource Center, will proceed with their federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the ordinance. In three other federal district court cases in other jurisdictions, federal judges have held similar ordinances unconstitutional.

Liberty Institute discusses with KXAN news:

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Austin City Council Ignores Advice of Its Own Lawyers, Proposes Another Unconstitutional Pregnancy Ordinance

January 24, 2012

AUSTIN, TX, January 24, 2012—Today, Liberty Institute, on behalf of three Austin, TX-area pregnancy resource centers submitted a comment letter to the Mayor, City Council members and attorneys for the City of Austin, opposing as unconstitutional a newly proposed city ordinance requiring pregnancy centers, under the threat of criminal penalties, to disclose government-mandated information about their services at their front entrances, information that the pregnancy centers already provide to women inside their facilities.

On January 26, the Austin City Council will discuss Chapter 10-9 of the Austin City Code, which, last week, the City’s Law Department recommended should be repealed. In addition to repealing the unconstitutional ordinance, the Austin City Council will also consider amending the ordinance.  The newly proposed ordinance, however, suffers from many of the same defects including unfair application to facilities the City disagrees with and violates the First Amendment because it is compelled speech and discriminates on the basis of viewpoint.

“We encourage the Austin City Council to follow the recommendations of its own lawyers and simply repeal the current ordinance that the City never enforced and is already the subject of a federal lawsuit, and do nothing more.  This rogue Council has now proposed a new ordinance that is even more unconstitutional and shows that Mayor Leffingwell and Member Spelman would rather waste taxpayer dollars in court then do what’s best for the people,” said Jonathan Saenz, an attorney and director of legislative affairs for Liberty Institute in Austin.

Coauthors of the letter include former Texas Supreme Court Justice Raul Gonzalez, David Lill, and, attorneys with Liberty Institute, who are co-counsel representing three Austin area pregnancy resource centers in the pending federal lawsuit, Roman Catholic Diocese of Austin, et al. v. City of Austin.

If the Austin City Council fails to repeal the original ordinance or passes an amended ordinance as proposed, Liberty Institute’s clients, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Austin, Catholic Charities of Central Texas, the Austin Pregnancy Resource Center, and the South Austin Pregnancy Resource Center, will proceed with their federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the ordinance. In three other federal district court cases in other jurisdictions, federal judges have held similar ordinances unconstitutional.

Liberty Institute is a non-profit legal firm defending and restoring religious freedom across America.

Click here to see the full release.


Watch Our Video on Texas Sonogram Case Victory!!

January 12, 2012

http://www.cbn.com/cbnnews/us/2012/January/Texas-Can-Enforce-Sonogram-Viewing-Law-for-Now/

By the way, big thanks goes to Attorney General Greg Abbott and Texas Solicitor General Jonathan Mitchell for doing an excellent job defending the Texas Sonogram law!!


Texas Sonogram Law Ruled Constitutional

January 10, 2012

Breaking News — Texas Sonogram law ruled constitutional! The Fifth Circuit Court (Edith Jones opinion) holds recently enacted Texas Sonogram law constitutional. The Fifth Circuit reversed Judge Sparks, vacating his granting of preliminary injunction, which had stopped enforcement of the Texas Sonogram law.

Check back to the blog today for a full press release with quotes from the bill’s authors, Senator Dan Patrick and Representative Sid Miller. Liberty Institute, on behalf of Senator Dan Patrick and Representative Sid Miller, had filed an amicus brief with the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in support of the law.

You can download the 5th Circuit Court opinion here

Update: See here for Liberty Institute’s press release.


City of Austin Sued by Liberty Institute On Behalf of Catholic Diocese, Three Pregnancy Centers

October 6, 2011

LIBERTY INSTITUTE FILES LAWSUIT ON BEHALF OF AUSTIN DIOCESE AND THREE PREGNANCY CENTERS AGAINST CITY OF AUSTIN

City Ordinance Compels False and Misleading Speech in Violation of First Amendment

AUSTIN, Texas, October 6, 2011 – Today, on behalf of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Austin and three Pregnancy Resource Centers (PRCs), Liberty Institute filed a lawsuit against the City of Austin over its unconstitutional ordinance requiring PRCs to post signs at their entrances stating what services they do not provide, such as abortions and birth control drugs and devices. This ordinance compelling speech is part of a coordinated nationwide campaign by NARAL Pro-Choice America specifically designed to deter women from visiting PRCs and to restrict their free speech rights.

“The decision by the Austin City Council to compel false and misleading speech is a clear violation of the pregnancy centers’ constitutional rights and is a despicable ploy to deter women and families from using these charitable centers,” said Jonathan Saenz, director of Legislative Affairs at Liberty Institute. “The City of Austin is forcing a national pro-abortion agenda on its citizens at the expense of women and their unborn children, who greatly benefit from the free pregnancy-related services offered at these centers.”

The ordinance, which is the first of its kind in Texas, requires each PRC to post a sign at its entrance stating that it does not provide or refer for abortions or birth control services. Two of the pregnancy centers refer married clients to primary physicians for birth control, and the third center provides information to women about natural family planning and abstinence, two recognized forms of birth control.

There is no requirement forcing abortion facilities to post signs or provide disclaimers stating what services they do not provide for women. The ordinance is the result of deliberate and targeted discrimination against PRCs by NARAL and the City of Austin.

“The unlawful compelled speech that NARAL and the City of Austin are forcing on PRCs is nothing more than an attempt to limit the options offered to women in pregnancy situations,” said Judge Raul A. Gonzalez, former Texas Supreme Court Justice and co-counsel for Plaintiffs. “Rather than allow women to actually have a choice and consider all of their options, NARAL and the City of Austin have chosen to bully these non-profit pregnancy resource centers who provide valuable services to women. Less competition means more money, and the abortion industry is all about the money.”

NARAL pushed the Austin ordinance as part of a national strategy designed to restrict PRCs outreach to women in need of pregnancy resources and to solely promote and support abortion providers. Currently, Austin is the fourth local government in America to force PRCs to post signs. Similar ordinances compelling speech have passed in Baltimore, Montgomery County and New York City, but were enjoined by federal judges as violations of the First Amendment.

“The Roman Catholic Diocese of Austin, Catholic Charities of Central Texas and the Gabriel Project of Austin provide women in crisis pregnancy with life affirming options,” said Bishop Joe Vasquez. “The ordinance enacted by the City of Austin impedes our ability to perform this ministry effectively and it is unjust. We turn now to the courts to protect our constitutional rights.”

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Austin, Catholic Charities of Central Texas, Austin Pregnancy Resource Center and South Austin Pregnancy Resource Center are Plaintiffs in the complaint filed against the City of Austin. Liberty Institute will continue to defend the rights of their clients and the countless women and children they represent.


Stop the Abortion Mandate!! Stop Planned Parenthood Funding by Taxpayers!! Live Webcast Tomorrow!!

July 22, 2009

Tomorrow, on Thursday, July 23rd, a live webcast will take place at 8 p.m. Central.  You’ll remember we informed you that Planned Parenthood was busted in April for performing illegal abortions in TEXAS!!  click here for details. https://texaslegislativeupdate.wordpress.com/2009/04/14/state-orders-cease-desist-against-illegal-planned-parenthood-facilities-in-texas/.

You’ll also recall that Planned Parenthood just closed all of its El Paso facilities, So They Are On The Run and THEY WANT MORE MONEY FROM YOU, THE TAXPAYER!!  https://texaslegislativeupdate.wordpress.com/2009/06/29/planned-parenthood-closes-6-clinics-in-el-paso/

“Help block one of the greatest threats to human life since the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision imposed abortion on America…”

Join the URGENT nationwide webcast event on Thursday,
July 23, to prevent Washington D.C. bureaucrats and abortion industry lobbyists from forcing YOU to pay for abortions.

Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion chain, received more than $350 million in taxpayer funding last year and ended the year with a $112 million surplus.

Now they want EVEN MORE!

Click here for details and to REGISTER for the WEBCAST!  http://www.stoptheabortionmandate.com/

 Click here to Contact your Congressman and tell he/she to vote against taxpayer funded abortions http://capwiz.com/freemarket/home/

Read the CNN story on this issue. http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/07/22/health.care.abortion/index.html


2009 Texas Legislative Session Summary

June 11, 2009

Click here for our summary. https://texaslegislativeupdate.wordpress.com/2009/06/04/texas-legislatve-session-summary-taxes-rejected-family-values-protected/


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