Skip to main content
Supreme Court of the United States

The Life Center v. City of Elgin

Last Updated: 6/2/2020

Overview

What's at stake

  • Whether a city can block a mobile pregnancy center from operating on private property by using its zoning power

Summary

In 2012 the City of Elgin, Illinois enacted an ordinance that severely restricted temporary uses of land in the City and then enforced that ordinance by boarding and ordering a mobile pregnancy to stop operations. The pregnancy center was operating from a specially designed bus that allowed it to offer ultrasounds and other services to women with permission of a church and local restaurant who allowed it to use their parking lots.

ADF joined ADF allied attorneys with the Chicago firm Mauck & Baker to assist Life Center in challenging the ordinance and its application to Life Center.

An Illinois federal court held that the ordinance was unconstitutional and prohibited its enforcement. In its opinion, the court wrote, “[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.” The Court added that “[t]he City’s Code is unduly burdensome to the right of a woman to choose life.”

The city later agreed to a settlement that permits Life Center to continue to offer its free services to women in the city.

"We will continue to work with our allied attorneys around the nation to resist any efforts to stop pregnancy centers from offering help and hope to women,” said ADF Senior Counsel Casey Mattox. 

Our role in this case

ADF served as co-counsel with our allies at Mauck & Baker.

Learn More
Resources

Legal Documents

Court
Title
Date
{"docs": [{"Court": "TrialCourt", "Title": "Permanent injunction opinion and order", "FileName": "https://adflegal.blob.core.windows.net/mainsite-new/docs/default-source/documents/legal-documents/the-life-center-v.-city-of-elgin/life-center-v-city-of-elgin---permanent-injunction-opinion-and-order.pdf", "Date": "11/1/2017 4:30:12 PM"}, {"Court": "TrialCourt", "Title": "Temporary restraining order", "FileName": "https://adflegal.blob.core.windows.net/mainsite-new/docs/default-source/documents/legal-documents/the-life-center-v.-city-of-elgin/life-center-v-city-of-elgin---temporary-restraining-order.pdf", "Date": "11/1/2017 4:30:12 PM"}, {"Court": "TrialCourt", "Title": "Complaint", "FileName": "https://adflegal.blob.core.windows.net/mainsite-new/docs/default-source/documents/legal-documents/the-life-center-v.-city-of-elgin/life-center-v-city-of-elgin---complaint.pdf", "Date": "11/1/2017 4:30:12 PM"}]}
Donate to ADF
Help defend people like you.
Make a Donation
Join our Newsletter
Always stay up to date.
Join Now
Share This Page