Chicago Ordinance Strangles Pro-Life Free Speech Outside Abortion Clinics

Written by Kevin Fobbs on August 26, 2017

The pro-life battle has taken on a Chicago ordinance that has given protection to abortion clinics by limiting U.S. Constitutional free speech outside abortion clinics. According to Life News , Chicago Pro-Life Advocates are demanding that the court overturn the unconstitutional law which prohibits passing out pro-life leaflets or handbills or displaying a sign and engaging in oral protest.

Shutting down free speech in America is tantamount to disarming the voice of the protectors of the unborn and nullifying their weapons of truth. The city’s so-called “bubble zone” ordinance, strictly blocks a person or group from coming within eight feet of a person entering the clinic. In addition, the ordinance which has only been applied to abortion clinics also designates a 50-foot radius from an abortion clinic entrance where providing words of counselling or providing literature is illegal.

Fortunately, this “bubble-zone” ordinance is being challenged by the Thomas More Society. They have taken up the pro-life free speech battle by filing an appeal brief in the United State Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit Court on behalf of the plaintiffs in Veronica Price et al. v. The City of Chicago et al.’. The attorneys are charging that Chicago’s severely misguided restrictive ordinance is specifically unconstitutional by prohibiting free speech and censoring the content of free speech.

American Christian Civil Rights Movement Executive Director Judi Lake, supports the Thomas More Society lawyers’ efforts to have the Chicago “bubble-zone” ordinance stricken down. Lake emphasized,

The Chicago city ordinance appears to have been crafted to deliberately take away a woman’s right to choose. The city is unconstitutionally denying the right of pro-life supporters and counselors from sharing crucially valuable information with women at a critical decision-making time, and is therefore doing them a great disservice.

Veronica Price, the named plaintiff in the case is a pro-life sidewalk counselor who joins other counselors in providing support and information. According to Life News she explained,

My desire as a sidewalk counselor is to give hope and help to women and men considering abortion. Many parents are unaware of the support that is available. By providing information on pregnancy resource centers, church programs, social services and adoption agencies, I can reach out and caringly offer help.

The anti-pro-life forces have tried to intimidate life supporters into giving up their efforts to educate and support women and men who need information about pro-life choices. Thomas More Society Senior Counsel and Co-Executive Director Thomas Olp indicated, “Contrary to pro-abortion propaganda, pro-life counselors do not intimidate women approaching abortion clinics.” Instead he explained, “Pro-life sidewalk counselors compassionately and calmly approach women, one-on-one, to offer them information about abortion alternatives, of which many are unaware,” reported Life News.

Not only is this law repugnant on its face in how it attempts to unilaterally dismantle free speech rights of pro-life counselors and supporters, but “Even the ACLU has opposed the Chicago Ordinance,” according to Thomas More Society Senior Counsel and Co-Executive Director Olp.

photo credit: Excerpted: American Life League _MG_1447.jpg via photopin (license)

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Kevin Fobbs
Kevin Fobbs has more than 35 years of wide-ranging experience as a community and tenant organizer, Legal Services outreach program director, public relations consultant, business executive, gubernatorial and presidential appointee, political advisor, widely published writer, and national lecturer. Kevin is co-chair and co-founder of AC-3 (American-Canadian Conservative Coalition) that focuses on issues on both sides of the border between the two countries.