A campaign that publicizes a major disposal company’s contract with Planned Parenthood to dispose of the bodies of unborn children will be allowed to continue, a judge decided Monday.
Judge Margaret Marcoullier rejected a request from Stericycle that would impose speech restrictions on members of Created Equal, which runs a publicity campaign called #ProjectWeakLink.
The request, according to the Thomas More Society, which represents Created Equal and its director, Mark Harrington, was “intended to stifle their First Amendment protected message that Stericycle is ‘enabling’ abortion giant Planned Parenthood to kill preborn children.”
The judge rejected a request for a temporary restraining order to stop the negative publicity. But she ruled that Stericycle has two weeks to file an amendment complaint in the case.
Created Equal launched the campaign a couple weeks ago by distributing informational postcards in the Lake Forest, Illinois, area, which is home to a major Planned Parenthood clinic.
Created Equal’s #ProjectWeakLink was created after a Michigan abortionist published a statement that abortion clinics are “one incineration company away from being closed.”
They cannot legally operate if they cannot meet state and local requirements for disposal of the unborn babies’ bodies.
“We will not be bullied into silence,” said Harrington. “This lawsuit confirms that Stericycle is more interested in doing the dirty work for Planned Parenthood than protecting their image as a respectable waste disposal company. Further public exposure of their sloppy and unethical business practices in a lawsuit is far more damaging to Stericycle’s image than ceasing to dispose of aborted babies for Planned Parenthood. If Stericycle is really concerned about their image, they need to cease transporting and disposing of aborted babies for Planned Parenthood. The campaign continues.”
Peter Breen of the Thomas More Society called it a “victory for free speech.”
“No business has the right to be ‘free from public criticism of its practices,'” he said. “Companies have a responsibility to be accountable to the public. When businesses like Stericycle engage in practices to which the public objects, citizens have a right to express displeasure, deliver bad reviews, and ask others to speak out against the business as well. Abortion industry partners like Stericycle are not exempt.”
WND reported earlier the campaign distributes informational literature that encourages the public to “express their objections” to the company’s work with Planned Parenthood.
“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 Breen. “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.”
The company claimed that distributing the leaflets is an invasion of privacy and a private nuisance, insisting the defendants would “suffer no hardship” by having their freedom of speech censored.
But the Thomas More Society argued it’s “well established that the loss of the right to speak for even ‘minimal periods of time,’ is ‘unquestionably … irreparable injury.'”
Its director, Michael Marcavage, said 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 significantly hinder the abortion business’ operations.
As a result of the campaign, several trucking companies imposed new bans on Stericycle leasing their trucks for use in the body disposal section of their business.