In August 2022, two Philadelphia residents sued the city and, later, the Abortion Liberation Fund of Pennsylvania (ALF-PA) challenging a donation of $500,000 that the city made to ALF-PA, an organization that protects and expands access to abortion for individuals in Southeastern Pennsylvania through direct service and community organizing.

ALF-PA is represented by the ACLU of Pennsylvania and pro bono attorneys from the law firm Ballard Spahr LLP. The donation is legal, and the challengers’ lawsuit has no legitimacy under state statute or the Pennsylvania Constitution. There is nothing in state or federal law that prohibits a municipality from using its own funds for this kind of work.

Following an October 14 preliminary injunction hearing and multiple attempts by plaintiffs to replead their claims, the court ultimately denied plaintiffs’ request for an injunction that would have required ALF to freeze or return the grant funds. On November 4, the Court of Common Pleas dismissed the plaintiffs’ claims in their entirety. The plaintiffs filed a series of frivolous appeals but ultimately dropped the case in January 2023 rather than face the possibility of being sanctioned for their abusive litigation tactics, leaving the donation intact.



Stephen Loney, Witold Walczak, and Solomon Furious Worlds and Legal Fellow Kate Steiker-Ginzberg of the ACLU of Pennsylvania

Pro Bono Law Firm(s)

Laura Gavin, Elliot Griffin, Aliza R. Karetnick, and Marcel S. Pratt of Ballard Spahr LLP

Date filed

August 16, 2022


Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas