Day Three: We Will Not Be Silenced

On Day Three, Justice Riders responded to an ordinance introduced by the Columbus, OH City Council that would criminalize pro-life speech at abortion facilities city-wide. This ordinance attempts to create anti-free speech zones around abortion facilities, abortionists, and abortion workers.

IMG_700Watch NBC4’s video, featuring Mark Harrington and the Justice Riders.

According to the proposed ordinance, anti-abortion activists can be charged with a first-degree misdemeanor for “harassing” someone within 15 feet of an abortion center.  This ordinance would open the door to intimidation of peaceful law-abiding protesters and sidewalk counselors and criminalize opposition to abortion under the guise of anti-harassment.

Abortion advocates failed to censor pro-life speech in the Ohio legislature this session so now they are turning to a friendly city council to do their dirty work. Gagging pro-life speech outside killing centers is blatantly unconstitutional and shows their desperation to crush any dissent to abortion.

“Abortion advocates are desperate to stop pro-lifers from lawfully opposing abortion because they are losing the debate. When Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was accused by the city officials in Birmingham, AL of fomenting violence because of his peaceful direct action campaigns, he responded, ‘It is wrong to urge an individual to cease his efforts to gain his basic constitutional rights because the quest may precipitate violence. Society must protect the robbed and punish the robber.’ We will not be bullied by abortion advocates to surrender one of our most basic liberties – our freedom of speech.”  — Mark Harrington, National Director, Created Equal

“This ordinance, with its undefined terms such as ‘harass’ and ‘follow,’ is an invitation to unconstitutional enforcement by police officers who aren’t adequately trained in the area of First Amendment freedoms. Unlike similar laws that are currently in place to protect victims of domestic violence and stalking, this ordinance is being pushed to advance a political agenda. The lack of any saving language that prohibits the civil and criminal penalties from being imposed on constitutionally protected activity virtually guarantees that, if enacted, its provisions would be abused.”  – Catherine Short, Vice President, Legal Affairs, Life Legal Defense Foundation