Tuesday, March 11, 2014
(Continued from page 1)
Still, laws that block protesters from having a civil conversation with another person on a public sidewalk, while letting clinic staffers speak with whomever they want in the same place, privilege pro-abortion speech and penalize its opposite. That would have driven the Founders bonkers.
As Jacoby said, “A lot of people don’t want to hear that abortion is wrong, or to be confronted with images of babies in the womb, or to be reminded that ‘choice’ is a euphemism for the destruction of human life. Many Americans may find such messages alarming, outrageous, or upsetting, especially when they are directed at girls or women going to get an abortion.”
And because they don’t want to hear it, they use the power of government against their opponents.
But, Jacoby adds, “the First Amendment wasn’t written to shield citizens in public spaces from unpopular or distressing speech. It was written to shield unpopular or distressing speech from being suppressed in public spaces.”
Right now, Portland can do what it wants. Sometime next year, though, we may discover that what it wants to do isn’t what the Constitution says it is allowed to do.
M.D. Harmon, a retired journalist and military officer, is a free-lance writer and speaker. He can be contacted at: