A federal judge Wednesday issued a temporary restraining order against the city of Elgin, allowing TLC Pregnancy Services to resume offering women free ultrasounds at its mobile facility.
TLC, a faith-based organization promoting "pro-life issues, the family and Christian living," filed a federal lawsuit last Thursday claiming the city's new zoning restrictions prevented women from accessing its services. For two years, technicians have performed ultrasounds in a specially equipped van parked with permission in lots belonging to J.B.'s Pub and the Evangelical Church of Elgin.
TLC executive director Vivian Maly indicated services will likely resume this week.
In its filing, TLC claimed Elgin police ordered the mobile facility shut down pursuant to an amended city ordinance that classified the vehicle as a "temporary land use."
After hearing arguments from both sides, U.S. District Court Judge Samuel Der-Yeghiayan ruled that TLC is likely to prevail on the merits of the case. Issuing the temporary restraining order, Der-Yeghiayan ruled that the city's "temporary land use" regulations are constitutionally overbroad and vague, and they "impermissibly burden and deny TLC's free speech rights on private property."
The judge further ruled that "TLC has and will continue to suffer irreparable injury if not allowed to continue providing free reproductive health care information, services and support." TLC attorney Noel W. Sterett said in a prepared statement that he hopes the ruling will encourage Elgin officials to "get rid of a law which has no purpose and is unconstitutional."
Elgin officials were unavailable for comment. Cherie Murphy, assistant to Elgin's city manager for community engagement, previously declined to comment on the pending litigation.