RICHMOND, Va. (AP)- A divided federal appeals court in Virginia is breathing new life into a Baltimore ordinance requiring anti-abortion counseling centers to post certain disclaimers.
In an 8-4 decision Wednesday, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals vacated a judge's ruling that the ordinance violates the centers' free-speech rights.
However, the appeals court based its decision on what it called the lower court's disregard for procedural rules - not the merits of the centers' First Amendment claims. The lawsuit filed by the Greater Baltimore Center for Pregnancy Concerns case now goes back to the lower court for further proceedings.
In a related 9-3 decision, the Richmond-based appeals court affirmed a judge's ruling that a similar Montgomery County ordinance violated the free-speech rights of the Centro Tepeyac pregnancy center.