A Florida judge has overturned a buffer zone ordinance put in place by overzealous officials in West Palm Beach in an attempt to stifle the free speech rights of pro-life protesters targeting the Presidential Women’s Center abortion facility. The judge correctly ruled that the law violates free speech rights and he ordered the city not to enforce it.
Florida Buffer Zone Law Overturned
The 20-foot buffer zone law was enacted after someone set fire to the clinic last fall, even though local pro-life groups condemned the arson, and no evidence was found to indicate that any of their members were in any way involved in the crime. West Palm Beach officials argued that the new law was needed because pro-lifers were, in their estimation, “threatening public safety and restricting access to the abortion facility.” (Haven’t we heard that one before?)
In his ruling, U.S. District Judge Donald Middlebrooks wrote:
Freedom of speech is rarely an issue when everyone agrees. Perhaps more than at any other place and any other time, in cases such as this, speech guaranteed by the First Amendment must be protected.
Well stated, your honor.
The Nutty Professor
By now, you’ve probably heard about the professor who led her students in vandalizing a pro-life display at Northern Kentucky University last week. I can’t really say that this surprises me, as this is what I’ve come to expect from pro-aborts.
After initially saying that she didn’t see anything wrong with what she had done, the vandalizing professor, Dr. Sally Jacobson, issued an apology for her actions on Tuesday. She also noted in an interview with a local TV station that she hoped her actions had not damaged the college’s reputation.
I wonder how the unfortunate souls in Northern Kentucky’s PR department are doing right about now. Or the school’s recruiters: this incident comes right in the middle of decision time for high school seniors. If I were a senior, and if I had been considering Northern Kentucky, last week’s idiocy would have made my short list even shorter.
We as pro-lifers should keep these displays coming. Many of them will probably be vandalized, but even so, this doesn’t hurt our cause in the long run. On the other hand, pro-abortion vandalism does hurt the perpetrators’ cause, for as long as pro-aborts keep behaving like a brood of spoiled children, public support for abortion will continue to drop.
After Jacobson issued her apology, I would have thought that she would be extra-cautious about getting herself into any more trouble, especially considering that she may well face charges related to the vandalism. I would have been wrong.
Since she stated her regret for what she called a “mistake in judgment,” she has continued to make mistakes in judgment. In an e-mail she sent to the students she led in trashing the pro-life display, she wrote:
If you are named, my advice is to get your attorney to plead you down to a misdemeanor. The well-funded Right to Life groups that are pushing for this need felony convictions, I believe, in order to file civil suits for damages. In the meantime, the campus police continue their investigation. If you have not yet been interrogated, you do not have to talk to them without an attorney. You can make it hard to find you.
Is it just me, or does her advice border on interfering with an investigation? I’ll let those who are more schooled in the law debate this question, but I want to focus on her remark about “well-funded Right to Life groups.”
Well Funded Pro-Lifers?
Maybe I’m missing something here, but the only pro-life group I know of that’s directly involved in this matter is Northern Kentucky Right to Life, the student group that set up the display. I’m assuming that the group’s funding comes exclusively from the school. I’m also assuming that the amount of money the school allocates to the group is comparable to that given to other clubs on campus.
Jacobson’s remark particularly struck me because I had never before seen the terms “well-funded” and “right to life group” appear in the same sentence. It’s especially ironic considering that most pro-life groups nationwide operate on a shoestring, and subsist largely on relatively small donations from those without a great deal of disposable income to begin with.
This is certainly true of us here at the Pro-Life Action League. Very few pro-life groups have many if any at all full-time employees, and those that do often can’t even afford to provide health insurance for them. Were it not for prayer support, many of these groups probably wouldn’t even be able to make payroll.
As many of you well know, the pro-life movement in this country consists almost entirely of part-time employees and to a far greater extent volunteers. This is especially true of pregnancy resource centers (at around 4000, they outnumber abortion clinics by about 5 to 1) some of which are staffed exclusively by volunteers.
Comparatively speaking, the pro-abortion movement is extraordinarily well-funded. When Dr. Brian Clowes of Human Life International spoke to a gathering of pro-lifers at the League offices a few years ago, I recall his estimating that the combined budgets of the major pro-abortion organizations in this country such as Planned Parenthood, NARAL, and NOW were twenty times greater than those of their pro-life counterparts. (I haven’t done the math on this myself, but this information could be easily checked out, as all non-profit organizations’ 990 forms are matters of public record.)
Would that “well-funded right to life groups” didn’t exist merely in Jacobson’s imagination! Still, recalling the story of David & Goliath, we need not despair. Instead, we press on.