If someone stood in your driveway and wouldn’t let you home until you talked to him, that would be harassment. If someone stood in the driveway of a business and wouldn’t let customers in until they took a pamphlet, that would be loitering. If someone stood in the driveway of a church and wouldn’t let parishioners in until they let him explain why there is no God, that would be national news and a total uproar would ensue.
But if someone stands in the driveway of a reproductive health clinic, forcing drivers to take a leaflet and talk to him about the evils of abortion before they can park, well, that’s just him expressing his first amendment rights, right?
Via the Miami Herald:
The federal government is trying to prevent a longtime anti-abortion protester from being able to stop cars and talk to drivers as they enter Denver’s Planned Parenthood center, arguing that he’s making it “unreasonably difficult” for patients and employees to get to the clinic.
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Press freedoms are under attack now, more than ever.
U.S. Justice Department lawyer Gayle Winsome told U.S. District Judge Philip Brimmer on Thursday that Kenneth Scott sometimes stands in the only driveway leading to the center’s to talk to drivers and distribute pamphlets, forcing drivers stopped behind them to wait before they can enter. She said that violates a 1994 law protecting access to abortion clinics and urged Brimmer to order Scott to keep at least 25 feet away from the entrance. She said he can still express his views from there without impeding traffic and without visitors having to worry about hitting Scott.
“This case is not about freedom of expression,” Gayle said.
Scott’s lawyers argue that Scott is a peaceful protester with a constitutional right to speak from public areas leading up to the property line of the Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains center.
Peter Breen of the Thomas More Society, one of Scott’s lawyers, said the government lawsuit against Scott is an overreach under the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act, passed in the wake of clinic sit-ins and a 1993 shooting that wounded Kansas abortion provider George Tiller. He was shot again and killed in 2009 at his Wichita church.
“Everything that Mr. Scott is accused of doing is protected by the First Amendment,” Breen said.
Remember, freedom of speech trumps absolutely every other right and law. At least, when it’s a reproductive health clinic involved.