On free speech and reproductive rights

I must say, I was a bit flummoxed by this story.

The City of Austin might repeal a 2-year-old ordinance requiring some facilities that counsel women with unplanned pregnancies to post signs saying they don’t offer abortions or contraceptive services.

The four Austin facilities affected by the ordinance sued the city last fall, saying the ordinance violates their constitutional rights.

City attorneys are urging the City Council to repeal the ordinance at Thursday’s council meeting “to avoid further litigation costs” and because similar laws have been struck down in other cities, according to a written summary of their recommendation.

Bill Spelman, the council member who led the charge to enact the ordinance, is proposing that the council revise, not repeal, it.

“This is a consumer awareness issue,” Spelman said in an email. “I still believe that it is important for women to have as much information about these businesses as possible, and I believe the changes I’m proposing will provide women information as well as satisfying the legal issues that have come up since (the council) passed the original ordinance” in April 2010 .

The ordinance requires pregnancy resource centers that don’t offer or refer clients to abortions or birth control to display entrance signs in English and Spanish noting the lack of those services.

So, it’s perfectly constitutional for the state to compel doctors to show a sonogram they don’t want to show to a patient who doesn’t want them to show it to them, but it’s a violation of free speech for the state to require a “clinic” that performs no medical services to clearly state that they perform no medical services? How is that even remotely consistent? I’ve been trying to come up with a righteous rant about this, but in the end I decided it was better just to point you to what Katherine Haenschen said; see also her report on Council’s actions. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go put a helmet on so my head doesn’t explode.

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2 Responses to On free speech and reproductive rights

  1. Diana says:

    Texas is a place of contradictions and confusion.

  2. becky says:

    it gets crazier and crazier here surrounding abortion…

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