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Bye-bye First Amendment
Posted By Joseph Farah On 02/05/1999 @ 1:00 am In Commentary | Comments Disabled
If not reversed on appeal, a $107 million judgment against
anti-abortion activists in Portland sounds the death-knell for the First
Amendment in America.
The same week a federal court threw out a case against Internet
pornographers, a U.S. judge ordered pro-lifers to pay restitution to
abortionists who felt “threatened” by their rhetoric.
And what was their rhetoric? Oh, that’s not the point. Even the
complainants, who make their living destroying unborn children, concede
there were no actual or overt threats made by the defendants. It’s one
of those deals where they, you know, contribute to the climate of
violence surrounding the explosive issue of abortion.
So, let me get this straight: Pro-lifers aren’t permitted to assemble
peacefully outside clinics and counsel women against abortion.
Injunctions and federal laws restrict such rights of assembly. When they
resort to civil disobedience, police break arms and legs while carting
them off to jail and judges slap them with exorbitant fines. And now,
just speaking out against the practices of abortionists is liable to
cost you every tangible asset you have accumulated in life or ever will.
Tell me what kind of activity such laws and judgments foster? That’s
right. The only course left for opponents of abortion is extremism and
violence. That seems to be what legislators, judges and abortion
advocates are promoting.
I can’t think of any other business in America today that gets the
kind of “protection” the abortion industry gets.
I hear people every day attack the tobacco industry for killing
children. Yet, I’ve never seen a successful suit against any of these
cigarette critics. “Consumer advocate” Ralph Nader made a name for
himself telling us the auto industry was intentionally killing people
for profit. We all assume that his overheated hyperbolic rhetoric is
protected by the First Amendment. Animal rights wackos accuse the meat
industry of “murdering” innocent animals. I’m unaware of any
multimillion judgment against such speech. Even when movie star Alec
Baldwin urges television viewers to rise up, march on Washington and
stone Rep. Henry Hyde and his family to death for his role in impeaching
President Clinton, there is no cost associated with his inflammatory
Nor do I wish to see any of that — as much as I might passionately
disagree with those irresponsible claims.
But abortion protesters are beneath the law, undeserving of
constitutional protections. They are being systematically marginalized
by decisions like this in a way that threatens not just their First
Amendment rights, but all of our First Amendment rights.
It seems so obvious. Yet, the American Civil Liberties Union is yet
to be heard from on this case — or dozens of other judgments involving
lesser fines. In fact, the most visible civil liberties organization in
America has frequently sided with the abortion industry and against
those simply expressing their views.
The ACLU has apparently decided that the “right to abortion,” which
nowhere appears in the Constitution, is a greater right than free
expression — a right championed by the ACLU even when exercised by
people as despicable as Nazis marching in Skokie, Illinois.
This case was not a close call, friends. This judgment should be
protested by every freedom-loving American. It must be overturned. It
must be repudiated. It must never be permitted to happen again.
Sanctions should be imposed on the poor excuse for a judge, and those
who brought the action in the first place should be required to copy the
Bill of Rights a thousand times on a blackboard.
What’s so scary about this decision is the lack of outrage over it.
These are not clinic bombers who have had their rights trampled upon.
They are not murderers. They are not even advocates of killing
abortionists. They are merely people who are expressing their heartfelt
convictions about a procedure considered universally abominable only a
America — where are you? What have you become? Why do you tolerate
– even celebrate — a lawbreaker in the White House who believes in
nothing but his own empowerment and condemn those who do nothing but
champion innocent human life?
If this verdict stands, every person of conscience — no matter how
they view the abortion debate — is a target for retribution and
financial ruin. It’s abortion protesters today. Who will be next?
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