A “medical waste” company that disposes of the bodies of unborn babies wants its critics silenced, and is going into court on Monday to demand such an order from a judge.
Officials with the Thomas More Society say they will be defending the pro-life advocacy group Created Equal, and its Executive Director Mark Harrington, during a hearing in Lake County, Illinois, court.
Stericycle, a partner with Planned Parenthood in the local abortion business, is seeking a temporary restraining order that is intended to stifle the campaign’s distribution of information about its cooperation with Planned Parenthood.
The campaign offers the information that Stericycle is “enabling” Planned Parenthood to continue profiting by taking advantage of women and their unborn children.
According to the law society, “Stericycle has taken objection to Created Equal’s Project Weak Link initiative, which takes its cue from an abortionist’s published statement that they are ‘one incineration company away from being closed.'”
The report said an investigation by Ohio’s attorney general of the abortion business found the nation’s largest abortion provider counts on Stericycle to dispose of unborn babies’ bodies.
The campaign distributes information literature that encourages the public to “express their objections” to the company’s role.
“The Supreme Court of the United States, in a case strikingly similar to this one, said that nobody has the right to be ‘free from public criticism of his business practices in pamphlets or leaflets,'” said Peter Breen, special counsel with the Thomas More Society.
“The irreparable harm of losing the ability to practice free speech for even minimal periods of time outweighs Stericycle’s theoretical potential business reputational harm, both in the immediacy of a temporary restraining order and in the future,” he said.
He explained Stericycle’s request simply violates the First Amendment.
In a brief in opposition to the request for the TRO, the legal team said there is no justification for such an abrogation of the Bill of Rights.
“The lawsuit seeks to silence speech and leafletting protected under the First Amendment,” the brief explains. “The dispute before the court implicates the robust nationwide debate over abortion, specifically whether Stericycle, Inc. … and other waste disposal companies should do business with Planned Parenthood.”
The argument continued, “The United States and Illinois constitutions bar plaintiffs from shutting down the debate and enjoining peaceful leafletting and speech.”
It explained the U.S. Supreme Court already has determined that courts “may not enjoin ‘peaceful distribution of informational literature.'”
The company is claiming that the leafletting is an invasion of privacy and a private nuisance, and insisted that the defendants would “suffer no hardship” by having their freedom of speech censored.
But the Thomas More Society arguments said, “It is well established that the loss of the right to speak for even ‘minimal periods of time,’ is ‘unquestionably … irreparable injury.'”
“Moreover, plaintiffs have wholly failed to meet their burden of establishing an entitlement to the relief they seek. They have not demonstrated: (1) a clearly ascertainable right in need of protection; (2) irreparable harm if no injunction were issued; (3) no adequate remedy at law for plaintiffs’ purported injury; and (4) a substantial likelihood of success on the merits of the underlying action,” the legal team argued.
The legal team’s briefs contend that much of the claim’s substance stems from a Facebook post that truthfully identifies Stericycle as Planned Parenthood’s medical waste provider and “expressing the belief that, if Planned Parenthood was unable to ‘dispose of the babies they kill,’ … the murder of innocent children by Planned Parenthood would likely halt.”
That provides contact information for the company.
“Defendants have engaged in a campaign to alert the public to those business practices, with the goal of inducing plaintiffs to halt the offensive practices. … Plaintiffs seek to censor defendants’ expression by hiding behind private tort claims and ignoring the constitutional protections for free expression.”
WND had reported back in 2011 when such efforts were developing.
At the time, a Christian organization with the politically incorrect name Repent America launched a campaign against Stericycle.
Its chief, Michael Marcavage, reported at the time, “It is sick beyond words that businesses like Stericycle are profiting from collecting murdered children and incinerating their bodies with the trash.”
He said cutting Planned Parenthood’s access to disposal services would hinder, significantly, the abortion business’ operations.
The fallout from that campaign, among other things, was that several trucking companies imposed new bans on Stericycle leasing their trucks for use in the body disposal section of their business.