Supreme Court to Determine if Pro-Lifers Have Free Speech Outside Abortion Clinics

National   Eric Scheidler   Jan 6, 2014   |   6:38PM    Washington, DC

The Pro-Life Action League is calling on all pro-life Christians to pray the Lord’s Prayer each day from January 7 through 15, for the intention that the U.S. Supreme Court will strike down all of the restrictive “Bubble Zone” laws that have been enacted to muzzle sidewalk counselors.

On Wednesday, January 15, the high court will hear oral arguments in the case of McCullen v. Coakley. Pro-life activists in Massachusetts are challenging that state’s recently enacted Bubble Zone, the most restrictive in the country. Under the law, pro-lifers may not speak to abortion clinic clients within 35 feet of the entrance, effectively scuttling their life-saving outreach. Clinic staff and “agents”—effectively any pro-choice person—are exempt.

Eleanor McCullen and the other plaintiffs argue that the law is unconstitutional, since in both its intent and its effect it restricts only the speech of pro-lifers. Among the briefs filed with the court is testimony from women who chose life for their babies after speaking with sidewalk counselors.

Bubble Zones Nationwide Could Be Struck Down

The pro-life plaintiffs are also asking the court to overturn their ruling in Hill v. Colorado which upheld a less restrictive Bubble Zone in 2000. Since then, similar laws have been enacted in many jurisdictions across the country—including a Bubble Zone enacted in 2009 by the City of Chicago, where the League is headquartered.

Three of the dissenters in Hill v. Colorado ruling—Justices Scalia, Thomas and Kennedy—are still on the court. Only Justices Ginsberg and Breyer remain from the majority. If any two of the new justices on the court—Kagan, Sotomayor, Alito and Roberts—were to side with the Hill minority, all the Bubble Zone laws in the country could be struck down.

Many pro-life legal groups have submitted amicus briefs in support of the plaintiffs, and even some advocates for legal abortion have spoken out against Hill v. Colorado as a violation of the First Amendment.

Pray for Sidewalk Counseling!

It would be a great victory for the Massachusetts Bubble Zone law to be stricken down, since similarly restrictive laws continue to be enacted against sidewalk counselors, most recently in Portland, Maine. And for all the Bubble Zones in the nation to be invalidated would be a tremendous victory not only for the First Amendment but for the countless unborn children whose lives would be saved.

Since the Chicago Bubble Zone was enacted in November 2009, sidewalk counselors in the city have faced continued harassment from police, many of whom are unclear about the actual provisions of the confusing ordinance. Bubble Zones elsewhere have hampered sidewalk counselors and made it more difficult to recruit new counselors.

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Please join the Pro-Life Action League in praying that the Supreme Court justices will listen to the plaintiffs’ arguments in McCullen v. Coakley with open hearts and that “His will be done” in their ruling later this Spring.

We’re asking all our Christian brothers and sisters to pray an “Our Father” each day for this intention until the hearing on the 15th.

LifeNews.com Note: Eric Scheidler is the executive director of the Pro-Life Action League and the son of the famous pro-life activist Joe Scheidler. He has led efforts against Planned Parenthood’s new abortion business in Aurora, Illinois.