Friday, July 04, 2008

Federal Court Upholds Pro-life Free Speech

The article states: "The government cannot silence messages simply because they cause discomfort, fear or even anger," said a panel of three judges - Harry Pregerson, Marsha Berzon and William Fletcher, all considered liberals.

-- From "Anti-abortion group wins free-speech ruling" by Bob Egelko, San Francisco Chronicle Staff Writer 7/3/08

SAN FRANCISCO -- A federal appeals court gave an anti-abortion group the go-ahead Wednesday to drive trucks with enlarged photos of aborted fetuses past California schools, saying the Constitution protects the display of disturbing messages.

Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies interfered with free speech by ordering the driver of one such truck to move away from a middle school, said the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco. The deputies had cited a state law barring disruptive activities near public school grounds.

To be constitutional, the state law can prohibit speech that is disruptive because of the way it is expressed - for example, through a blaring loudspeaker - but not because of its content, said Pregerson, the author of the ruling.

"They can get out their message that reveals the horror of abortion," said attorney Robert Muise of the Thomas More Law Center, a conservative Christian organization. He said the trucks would be sent to middle schools and high schools, where students, he contended, are already being targeted by advocates of contraception and abortion.

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