Hooray for Baltimore!

>> Sunday, November 29, 2009

Baltimore displays some guts:

The Baltimore City Council went where no local government has gone before, it seems, in telling crisis pregnancy centers in the city this week that they have to put up signs saying they don't provide abortion or birth control....

In the end, the Baltimore city council's vote protects consumers from false and misleading advertising. That's a position governments often take, and there's a whole branch of law, commercial speech, to explain why false advertising gets less First Amendment protection. The council decided to treat the crisis pregnancy centers differently than other groups because they're pretending to be something they're not (and then lying about the risks of abortion once they've gotten clients in the door). Eliot Spitzer similarly went after the centers for false advertising when he was New York attorney general. He investigated 24 of them and issued subpoenas to 11, saying they were violating a 1995 consent decree in which they'd promised not to misrepresent the services they offered.

The ordinance has not yet been signed by Mayor Dixon, but it strikes me as a no-brainer; if you can't go after these charlatans in Baltimore, then where can you go after them?


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