Pacific Justice Institute (PJI) wants the U.S. Supreme Court to grant review and strike down a Maine statute that treats identical abortion-related speech differently based on the subjective intent of the speaker.
According to PJI, “Under the Maine Civil Rights Act, noise that can be heard inside a reproductive health facility like an abortion clinic is punishable – but only if the person making the noise intends to interfere with the delivery of “services” like abortion. Thus, if two groups are standing outside Planned Parenthood, and one group is pleading for the lives of the unborn, while the other group is trying to drown them out with drums and bullhorns, only the pro-lifers could be punished.”
“For decades, it has been a central principle of First Amendment jurisprudence that the government can regulate speech neutrally to control effects like decibel levels regardless of who is speaking or what they are saying,” said Brad Dacus, president of PJI. “The government’s attempts here to punish speech based on whether the speaker is supporting or opposing abortion is repugnant to free speech and must be struck down.”
The suit was filed by a Maine pastor, Andrew March, whose church pleads for the lives of the unborn babies. The Boston-based First Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the statute, and March’s attorneys have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review it. PJI joined and co-funded an amicus brief along with fellow pro-life organizations Life Legal Defense Foundation and the Thomas More Society. The brief was authored by affiliate attorney Deborah Dewart of North Carolina.
It is a sad day when freedom-loving Americans cannot speak out against tyranny and the murder of innocents.
The Supreme Court needs to hear this appeal and to stand up for free speech and protection of the unborn.