SCOTUS Ruling Protects Pro-Lifers’ First Amendment Rights

Photo Credit: GPL. (Creative Commons)

As millions of Americans continue to be slaughtered before they have a chance to breathe their first breath, anti-abortion activists remain vigilant in their mission to provide women with alternatives to the deadly procedure. For many, this includes positioning themselves near an abortion facility to offer encouragement and resources.

When Massachusetts passed a law establishing a 35-foot protected zone surrounding these clinics, however, pro-life advocates fought back, claiming their right to free speech had been curtailed.

In a unanimous decision regarding the resulting case, McCullen v. Coakley, the U.S. Supreme Court Thursday upheld that assertion. As a result, the 2007 Massachusetts law that specifically banned any speech “on a public way or sidewalk” leading to an abortion facility has been struck down.

While Chief Justice John Roberts apparently sees the merit in narrowly crafted laws meant to protect the safety of clinic staff and patients, he wrote that the Massachusetts law limited “substantially more speech than necessary” to meet that goal.

The four left-leaning justices seemed to support Roberts’ interpretation. Supreme Court conservatives, however, were somewhat more vocal in their admonition of the law’s intent.

Justice Antonin Scalia wrote in a concurring opinion that, although he agreed with the ruling, it was nonetheless worded in a way that perpetuates “giving abortion-rights advocates a pass when it comes to suppressing the free-speech rights of their opponents.”

In any case, pro-life advocates – and free speech proponents across the political spectrum – are celebrating the favorable outcome.

“These buffer zones have not only denied pro-life activists their right to speak, but have also denied women the right to hear information about abortion that could be wanted and helpful to them in making a decision that will affect the rest of their lives,” Operation Rescue President Troy Newman told the Boston Globe. “We know that lives will be saved as a result of this decision.”

Photo Credit: GPL. (Creative Commons)

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

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