Legislation / Court Cases

Federal Court Protects Mobile Ultrasound Facility from Elgin, IL, Zoning Restrictions

Federal Court Protects Mobile Pregnancy Services: Federal Injunction Entered to Protect TLC Mobile Pregnancy Services (TLC) from City of Elgin’s Restrictions

[NRLC Editor’s note. Back in March we ran two stories about a lawsuit filed against the city of Elgin, Illinois, over a new zoning restriction which effectively prevented TLC Pregnancy Services from providing the women of Elgin, particularly high-school age girls, with free pregnancy information, testing, and ultrasound care through its mobile ultrasound facility (“Illinois Women Denied Free Pregnancy Services–Federal Law Suit Filed” and “Temporary Restraining Order issued against City in Illinois–Pregnancy Support Services Resume”). Last week more good news in the form of a federal injunction.]

In an opinion which called Elgin’s “effort to curtail private entities from providing free and valuable services to its young women …ill-advised,” United States District Court Judge Samuel Der-Yeghiayan permanently enjoined Elgin’s code restrictions which had been used to halt The Life Center’s mobile pregnancy services.

In March, the Court had found that the young women of Elgin were likely to suffer irreparable harm if Elgin’s zoning restrictions were applied to deny them access to the free services and support TLC’s mobile ultrasound facility provides.

The City then filed a motion to dismiss the case, but the City’s motion was denied in its entirety in today’s order.

“TLC is delighted to share this victory with the young women in the Elgin community.” said TLC’s Executive Director Vivian Maly.

The opinion went on:
“[I]t must be recognized that the City is preventing Life Center from being able to effectively provide pregnant women in the City with needed medical care that could identify issues and save lives of unborn children. Life Center has in fact provided evidence that it has helped a multitude of young women who have used the services at the Mobile Facility.”

Since the Court’s order in March, The Life Center’s mobile pregnancy services have operated at the usual locations at the Evangelical Covenant Church of Elgin and JB’s Pub & Bar on Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons.

Now that Elgin’s ordinance is found to be unconstitutional, the TLC may expand its mobile pregnancy services to other locations.

TLC’s attorney John W. Mauck noted that Judge Der-Yeghiayan’s order underscores the paramount interest women have to be fully informed in the context of their pregnancies.

“On the heels of the Illinois Supreme Court’s unanimous decision in the Hope Clinic case just a few weeks ago affirming the Illinois Parental Notice Act, the law appears to be clarifying that the welfare of young pregnant women and their rights to be fully informed in their pregnancy decisions prevails.” said attorney John Mauck.

[13 Aug 13, http://www.nationalrighttolifenews.org/news/2013/08/federal-court-protects-mobile-pregnancy-services/#.UhFQsn8qLuo ; Chicago, August 8, 2013]