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You’d think that a unanimous U.S. Supreme Court ruling striking down as unconstitutional a Massachusetts “buffer zone” law that banned pro-life speech within 35 feet of abortion businesses would make for “settled law.”
ICYMI, here is the story of the heroic lady, Eleanor McCullen who won that crucial victory in June 2014:
But as much as pro-abortion activists chant “hey-hey, hee-haw…Roe v. Wade is settled law…” and claim that killing unborn babies is a “constitutional right” they still don’t seem to get that there is an actual, explicit constitutional right — free speech — that isn’t suddenly invalidated when the topic is the secular sacrament of abortion.
Case in point: Pittsburgh imposed in 2005 a 15-foot speech censorship bubble around any “establishment providing therapeutic, preventative, corrective, healing and health-building treatment services on an outpatient basis by physicians, dentists and other practitioners.” Pretty plainly, shielding abortion businesses from that nasty little free speech thing was a primary objective of the measure. And it is being enforced by the current mayor of Pittsburgh, who voted for the speech suppression measure when he was on the city council.
Alliance Defending Freedom filed a federal lawsuit shortly after the Supreme Court decision in McCullen challenging the unconstitutional ordinance that creates hundreds of censorship zones throughout the city that ban leafleting and other free speech.
With the overwhelming free speech win in McCullen being merely months old, the federal district court nonetheless ruled in March 2015 to keep the ordinance in place and to partially dismiss the plaintiff’s claims.
ADF immediately appealed to the 3rd Circuit, arguing that “the Supreme Court made that clear when it affirmed the long-recognized fact that public streets and sidewalks are places where free speech is highly protected. And that “these kinds of censorship zones are clearly unconstitutional.”
The 3rd Circuit did the right thing Wednesday, and ruled to reinstate the lawsuit. The court wrote:
“This case calls for nothing more than a straightforward application of McCullen—the Ordinance imposes the same kind of burden on speech, the same less burdensome options are available, and the City has similarly failed to try or to consider those alternatives to justify its Ordinance…,” the 3rd Circuit wrote in its opinion. “The recent instruction from McCullen and the factual allegations of the Complaint combine to require that we vacate the District Court’s grant of the City’s motion to dismiss the Plaintiffs’ free speech claims…. We reverse so that the Plaintiffs’ claims may be aired and assessed by the standard that McCullen now requires.”
Hopefully, a victory in this case leads to settled-settled law — that free speech can’t be limited just because the abortion industry and its political patrons understand that when women and girls know there’s help and hope for their babies, they are less likely to allow an abortionist to kill them.