RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - A federal appeals court vigorously questioned lawyers on both sides of a dispute over two ordinances requiring Maryland anti-abortion pregnancy counseling centers to post certain disclaimers.
A divided three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond affirmed a judge's decision striking down the ordinances in June. The panel agreed with the centers that the ordinances violate their free speech rights. The case was appealed to the full appeals court, which heard arguments Thursday.
One ordinance required the Greater Baltimore Center for Pregnancy Concerns to post a sign saying it doesn't provide abortions or contraception. A Montgomery County ordinance required Cento Tepeyac Women's Center to post a sign saying it doesn't have a medical professional on staff, and county health officials recommend pregnant women see a doctor.
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