Temporary court order allows mobile testing service in Elgin
By Mike Danahey email@example.com March 13, 2013 6:10PM
Updated: April 16, 2013 3:38PM
A federal judge issued a temporary restraining order Wednesday against Elgin’s zoning restrictions on a mobile ultrasound service, according to attorneys in the case.
According to a press release issued shortly before 5 p.m. Wednesday, a court order will allow TLC Pregnancy Services to offer its mobile testing service for now. The restraining order is in place until March 27, when there will be a status hearing on the case in federal court.
The release states, “TLC will now bring its mobile pregnancy service back to its usual positions at the Evangelical Covenant Church of Elgin and JB’s Pub & Bar for as long as the court order remains in place. Both of these locations are in close proximity to Elgin’s Larkin High School.”
The release states that “United States District Court Judge Samuel Der-Yeghiayan agreed, after hearing arguments from both sides, that TLC is likely to succeed on the merits of its case. The details of the temporary restraining order state that the young women of Elgin are likely to suffer irreparable harm if Elgin’s zoning restrictions are applied in a way which denies them access to the free services TLC’s mobile ultrasound facility provides.”
“We hope today’s ruling allows Elgin’s officials to rethink their position and do what is best for TLC, Elgin, pregnant women and their unborn babies: get rid of a law which has no purpose and is unconstitutional,” Noel W. Sterett, an attorney with the Mauck & Baker law firm, said in the release.
TLC is a faith-based, anti-abortion organization that had been offering free services to pregnant women in a clearly marked mobile vehicle. The lawsuit, filed in federal court last week, claims the city zoning restrictions put in place last summer restrict women from getting what it offers.
Friday, the city issued a release stating the lawsuit was without merit.
According to the release, TLC — which has a bricks-and-mortar location in Elgin — can apply and obtain a permit to operate its mobile ultrasound facility but that “instead of complying with the city’s zoning ordinance and applying for a permit that the city of Elgin stands ready and willing to issue, TLC and its attorneys have chosen to file a lawsuit and issue public statements which misrepresent the city’s zoning regulations and the actions taken by the city.”
“If TLC wishes to use its mobile ultrasound vehicle within the city, it must comply with applicable provisions of the city’s zoning ordinance. The city’s zoning ordinance applies to TLC the way it does for other land uses within the city including, for example, the same way it would apply to a doctor that wanted to see patients, a social service provider that wanted to counsel clients, an attorney that wanted to conduct a law practice, or even a church that wanted to conduct religious services from a similar vehicle,” the press release states.
“Apparently dissatisfied with the zoning regulations regarding the number of days a temporary use can be conducted on a particular property in a calendar year, TLC and its attorneys have now taken a position that TLC does not have to comply with the city’s zoning ordinance with respect to the operation of its mobile ultrasound vehicle,” the release stated.