A Michigan pro-life advocate may continue holding signs on the sidewalk after he settled a free speech case with a Detroit suburb Wednesday.
In 2016, city officials in Center Line, Michigan prohibited resident Michael Mattia from carrying his pro-life signs on city sidewalks, arguing that they were disturbing the peace on a “psychological level” because they showed graphic images of aborted babies.
A judge ruled in Mattia’s favor in December, and the two parties reached a final agreement in the case Wednesday, CBN News reports.
Center Line agreed to pay $50,000 for Mattia’s legal fees, as well as $1 to Mattia personally, according to the report.
In December, Judge David Lawson blocked the city from acting against Mattia.
“A complete ban on sidewalk signs cannot be said to leave open any alternative channels of communication. … Mattia has demonstrated the likelihood of success on his as-applied challenge to (the sign ordinance) because of the breadth of the ordinance and its panoptic muffling effect,” the judge wrote on Dec. 18.
Mattia carried signs showing images of aborted babies, along with phrases such as “Abortion: God Forgives and Heals” and “Women Do Regret Abortion,” according to the report.
Graphic images of aborted babies are controversial, even within the pro-life movement, but they are a protected form of free speech.
Governments across the world have been trying to chip away at pro-life advocates’ freedom of speech through buffer zones and other measures. In England, Australia and Canada especially, abortion activists have been trying to essentially silence pro-lifers who reach out to women outside abortion facilities.
LifeNews Note: File photo.