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Care Net Calls Baltimore Pregnancy Center Bill Nonsensical, Unwarranted, and Unconstitutional

by Staff
December 9, 2009
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LANSDOWNE, Va., ( -- Care Net President Melinda Delahoyde has called a Baltimore City bill targeting pregnancy centers "nonsensical," "unwarranted," and "discriminatory." The bill was signed into law on Friday by Mayor Sheila Dixon, who just days earlier was convicted of embezzling $600 worth of gift cards intended for the city's poor.

"It is nonsensical for the Baltimore City Council to undermine local efforts to provide free support to pregnant women in their city, but that's exactly what they've accomplished with this legislation," said Care Net President Melinda Delahoyde. "It's particularly alarming when abortions are decreasing nationwide, but increasing in the state of Maryland."

According to the Guttmacher Institute, the abortion rate in the U.S. has decreased nine percent since 2000 to 19.4 abortions per 1,000 women of reproductive age in 2005. On the other hand, Maryland in 2005 had a rate of 31.5 abortions per 1,000 women of reproductive age, an increase of eight percent since 1992.

"Pregnancy centers help to reduce abortions by providing free, compassionate support and practical help to women facing unplanned pregnancies," said Delahoyde. "The first center Care Net opened, the Greater Baltimore Center for Pregnancy Concerns, has been faithfully serving the women of Baltimore for nearly 30 years.

"In this economy, and with abortion on the rise, wouldn't it make more sense for the Baltimore City Council to pass a resolution praising the contribution of pregnancy centers, which rely solely on charitable contributions, not on state or local funding?

"This bill is also unwarranted. In contrast to the accusations made by groups like NARAL and Planned Parenthood, not one client has ever complained about their experience there.

"Sadly, this bill sends a message to city residents that local pregnancy centers may not be completely forthcoming about their services. This couldn't be further from the truth and is an affront to women who rely on their support. In compliance with the nationwide pregnancy center standards in the 'Commitment of Care and Competence,' the Care Net pregnancy center in Baltimore serves its clients with the utmost of integrity. Not one client has ever reported being misled about the services that are offered there.

"In addition, this legislation is unconstitutional because it discriminates against pregnancy centers solely because of their pro-life viewpoint.

"Care Net urges Baltimore residents to continue their long-standing support of local pregnancy centers, despite the lack of support from the City Council and Mayor."

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