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:


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will discuss Chapter 10-9 of the Austin City Code, which, last week, the City’s Law Department recommended should be repealed.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/


Urgent Action Needed! McLeroy, Choose Life Plate, Ultrasound Votes!!

May 24, 2009

Call YOUR STATE SENATOR NOW AND  ASK HE/SHE TO :

SUPPORT DON MCLEROY FOR SBOE CHAIRMAN-he’s been under attack by one Austin fringe group for his personal religious beliefs and statements he made at church at Sunday school.

SUPPORT THE CHOOSE LIFE LICENSE PLATE as an amendment to HB 300.  Sen. Carona will proposed the Choose Life Plate as an amendment on Monday, on the Senator Floor.

MAKE YOUR CALL NOW-CLICK HERE TO FIND YOUR STATE SENATOR !!http://www.fyi.legis.state.tx.us/

THEN CALL YOUR STATE HOUSE REPRESENTATIVE AND ASK HE/SHE TO:

SUPPORT THE “ULTRASOUND BILL” (SB 182)

-EVEN THOUGH IT IS A HOLIDAY, THE STATE HOUSE  AND SENATE MEMBERS ARE MEETING AND WORKING ALL DAY AT THE CAPITOL!!

MAKE YOUR CALL NOW-CLICK HERE TO FIND YOUR REP!!http://www.fyi.legis.state.tx.us/


Action Alert!! We Need Calls/Emails: Religion, Babies, & Taxes!!

May 21, 2009

1.  Don McLeroy, State Board of Education member, needs your help to be CONFIRMED as chairman of the SBOE, which requires a 2/3rds of the 31 Texas State Senators to vote in favor of him.  His nomination as chairman was approved yesterday bythe Senate Nominations committee. Don McLeroy has been unfairly attacked by some because of his PERSONAL religious beliefs as a Christian.  He’s even been attacked for religious statements he’s made while at church!  CALL YOUR STATE SENATOR today and tell he or she to REJECT a Religious Test and please Support Don McLeroy!

Click here to find your State Senator http://www.fyi.legis.state.tx.us/

The Ultrasound Bill, the Texas House State Affairs Committee passed SB 182 passed it, the Ultrasound bill, yesterday!  The bill will now go to the Calendars Committee and then to full House for a vote.  Please call the Calendars Committee.  

TAXES: We still need action to oppose SB 855, as it will be voted on by the full House tomorrow!  This is the transportation tax bill that will have the effect of raising gas taxes by 125%.  Call (512) 463-4630 now and ask for your House member and tell him or her you oppose SB 855.

SB 1569 is also before the House for a vote today, regarding acceptance of federal stimulus money, if Texas expands unemployment insurance to part-time employees.


Action Alert-Sex Ed Vote!! Attack on Abstinence Showdown Moved to Wednesday!

May 17, 2009

Vote on SB 283 is postponed until Wednesday, May 20th, 10 a.m.-MORE TIME TO MAKE YOUR CALLS TO YOUR TEXAS STATE HOUSE REPRESENTATIVE, ASK HE/SHE TO VOTE “NO” ON CASTRO & VILLAREAL AMENDMENTS (detailed below), AND ASK YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY TO DO THE SAME!! 

We have now reviewed the proposed amendments.  the Villareal Amendment is worst than we thought:

1. Strips out the following phrase from current law-”abstinence…is the only method that is 100% effective in preventing pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.”  (instead, they have substituted the phrase “abstinence…as only certain way to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases”). (Villarreal Amendment)

2. Diminishes emotional trauma by changing current law to suggest that there may be no emotional trauma associated with adolescent sexual activity. (Villarreal Amendment)

3. Censors any information about the risks, side effects, and limitations of contraceptive methods. (Villarreal Amendment)

4.  Eliminates the current law requirement that children be directed toward “a standard of behavior” where abstinence before marriage is the most effective way to prevent pregnancy and STDs…  (Villarreal Amendment)

5. Uses the term “age appropriate”, which opens the door to sexually explicit materials and demonstrations. (Vague and unclear definition that allows groups like Planned Parenthood to define “age appropriate.”) (Castro Amendment).

6. Use the term “medically accurate” or “scientifically accurate” as false weapon against abstinence-based teaching.  Organizations that are hostile and biased against abstinence teaching have used their own interpretation of “medically accurate” to disqualify abstinence teaching, even when such teaching was approved by the United States federal government. (Castro or Villarreal Amendment).

7. Bans abstinence promotion and teaching to students who are sexually active. (with no method of identifying such students). (Villarreal Amendments).

Since Texas began promoting abstinence-based sex ed:

  • The rate of teen pregnancies has dropped 24%
  • The rate of teen abortions has dropped 41%
  • The rate of teen births has dropped 22%

There were NO similar gains in the 1980’s, when Planned Parenthood type programs were the rule.


Breaking-‘Choose Life’ To Be Voted on By Senate Today-Watch for Live Blog Updates on Vote

April 29, 2009

De-Fund Planned Parenthood

April 16, 2009

Please call your State House Representative and ask he/she to SUPPORT  the Chisum Amendment to Rider 56 to the State Budget.  The State Budget will be voted on tomorrow.  This amendment will drastically reduce funding for Planned Parenthood for “family planning” activities.  Planned Parenthood was recently issued “Cease and Desist” orders for illegally operating 4 unlicensed abortion clinics in Texas.   Please help us send a message that Planned Parenthood is irresponsible and as such should be be denied funding.

Click here to contact your State Representative. http://www.fyi.legis.state.tx.us/


Ultrasound Bill Update-Senate Vote This Week!

April 7, 2009

Last week, we reported that the life-saving ultrasound bill, which requires that an ultrasound be performed on a woman considering abortion and that the woman is offered an opportunity to view the ultrasound image and hear her baby’s heartbeat, could pass through the Senate.  However, the vote was postponed to this week.  We are at a crucial stage with the ultrasound bill, which supports a woman’s right to view an ultrasound and ensures women are given vital information about a life and death decision.  The possible deciding vote is considered to be that of Sen. Kel Seliger (R-Amarillo), who voted “present, not voting” on the ultrasound bill the last time it was in the Senate!  That would probably kill the bill.

You can help!  Click here to call your Senator today!


Ultrasound Bill-Full Senate Vote This Week!!

March 30, 2009

SB 182, by Sen. Patrick has been placed on the Senate Intent Calendar and could be voted on as early as Wednesday or possibly Thursday by the full Texas Senate.  This bill requires that an ultrasound be performed on a woman considering abortion and that the woman is offered an opportunity to view the ultrasound image and hear the baby’s heartbeat.  The pregnant woman is absolutely not required to view the ultrasound image or hear the heartbeat.

http://www.legis.state.tx.us/tlodocs/81R/calendars/html/S120090331.htm

Please Contact your State Senator and ask them to support this excellent, pro-life bill, SB 182: Bill Text

Click here Senators’ information.  CALL NOW!!!  http://www.fyi.legis.state.tx.us/ 

Texas Senators: http://www.legis.state.tx.us/Members/Members.aspx?Chamber=S


Ultrasound Bill Hearing to Start Soon-Watch for Live Blogging Throughout

March 19, 2009

7:00 p.m. — Hearing over.  I apologize for the small amount of updates.  My live radio interview with Adam McManus went through 40 minutes of the public testimony time in SB 182.  Sen. Patrick really put the pro-abortion folks on the spot about admitting that performing an ultrasound is standard medical care before performing an abortion.  Rep. Randy Weber, over from the House, had an appearance and testified for SB 182, drawing from a personal experience about abortion, wishing that many years ago the state had such logical informed consent provisions in place, would have prevented him from having to live with years of regret for his decision.

Sen. Patrick also embarrased a pro-abortion testifier who was complaining about the state requiring that women be told of the abortion-breast cancer connection.  She didn’t realize that provision is already a part of state law.  Ouch, I guess she should have read the bill first before having to go face-to-face with Sen. Patrick.

sb182a

sb182b

6:15 — I just completed testifying, after the ACLU and some doctor quoting the law.  Too bad he didn’t realize the case he was relying on has been partially overruled.  So I performed my duty to let the committee know that, which made my point even stronger about the USSCT currently supporting informed consent that overruled his case.

———————-
I am getting ready to testify soon on the ultrasound bill, but also I will be on the Adam McManus radio show at 5 p.m.,  tallking about the Science & Censorship issue.  the State Board of Education takes their final vote on this next Wednesday.  With a margin of one vote in January, any calls and help you can give could make the difference.

Did you know, that one of the pioneers of abortion procedure, Bernard Nathanson, is now a huge pro-life advocate?  Guess what changed his heart and mind?  The ultrasound machine.


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