Maryland county officials confirmed Wednesday they worked with a national pro-choice organization to shut down law-abiding pro-life pregnancy centers in the state, after an email exchange was published.
NARAL Maryland President Jodi Finkelstein emailed Montgomery County’s council president a list of seven strategies the county could employ against local crisis pregnancy centers, and the president, George Leventhal, acted on those suggestions, emails obtained by Life Site News show.
“I do not dispute the content of the emails quoted in the article,” Leventhal told Catholic News Outlet Aleteia, after the emails were published.
Finkelstein sent the list in March after a judge ruled against a new county law requiring pro-life crisis pregnancy centers to post a warning sign if they don’t employ medical staff. “It is our hope that the Montgomery County Council will once again partner with us to ensure Montgomery County citizens are aware of the misleading tactics used by crisis pregnancy centers,” she wrote in the email.
She expressed consternation that “fake clinics” continue to “evolve,” and are rapidly acquiring medical staff and equipment, so that NARAL’s past strategy of encouraging medical-staff disclosure rules now “often backfires.”
And such rules only encourage centers toward “medicalization,” which makes them hard to distinguish from “legitimate health centers,” she wrote.
Finkelstein advised the council to drop the legal case against the pregnancy centers and pursue other strategies, such as finding creative ways to defund the centers, banning health officials or clinics associated with the government from referring anyone to those pregnancy centers and striking their names from all government materials.
In response, Leventhal directed a state official to find out whether those pregnancy centers are funded by the county, as well as when and how women are referred to those centers. He also promised to have one of his staffers investigate federal ultrasound regulations that could potentially be used against the centers.
“While I agree these centers are deceptive,” Leventhal wrote in the email. “They are clearly very artful at devising strategies to avoid violating the law.”
And given a U.S. district court ruling upholding the ban on the county’s statute requiring the pregnancy centers to post certain signs, Leventhal said the council would not pursue NARAL’s suggested “truth-in-advertising” strategy.
Leventhal did not respond to a request for comment.
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