Supreme Court decision halts Hartford ordinance

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Another major ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court is having a major impact here in Connecticut.  The high court ruled against a California law that required “faith based pregnancy centers” to inform clients that free or low cost abortion is also available.

A similar law is scheduled to go into effect in Hartford on Sunday but that new city ordinance has now been put on hold because of this ruling and pro choice advocates are pushing back.

The Hartford city ordinance would impose a fine on pregnancy centers if they were found to be providing deceptive or misleading information about pregnancy services. The city attorney says they’re putting it on hold.

At the state capitol on Wednesday, Sarah Croucher of ‘NARAL Pro-Choice Connecticut’ said, “Yesterday, five male justices tried to say that it’s okay for fake women’s health centers to lie to women.”  Pro-choice advocates denounced yesterday’s court decision, saying women’s rights are on the verge of disappearing.

 Sen. Mae Flexer (D-Danielson) saying, “This decision demonstrates to me that every branch of the federal government is now prepared to roll back women’s rights.”

Pro life advocates are hailing the decision as an important step forward.  The ‘Family Institute of Connecticut’s Christina Bennett saying,  “A major victory for pro life pregnancy centers because the
 Supreme Court is saying that we have a right to freedom of speech.”

In Hartford right near the Hartford Hospital complex all you have to do is walk down a short brick walkway and when you get to the courtyard if you turn left you’re at the faith based crisis pregnancy center if you turn right you are at a clinic that provides abortion services.   Pro choice advocates say clients have been lured to the pregnancy center and not informed of their true choices.

David Evans is with the ‘2 Hearts Pregnancy Center’ in Torrington and says,   “The courts really spoke about first amendment rights, that the government can’t chose one voice over the other.  That’s really what the court said.”

Hartford City leaders say they believe the new ordinance will survive this court ruling.  Working Families Party member and Counsel Minority Leader Widaliz Bermudez saying, “The Hartford Court of Common Council and those who are supportive of this ordinance will continue to be supportive, myself included.”
        
 And councilwoman Bermudez notes that the Hartford ordinance was fashioned after one in New York and that has already survived a court challenge.
 

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