Pro-Lifers’ Rights Upheld in Minnesota Supreme Court

The Eight Annual Summer Face the Truth Tour was a success. If nothing else, at our second stop in Evanston on Saturday we had at least one save when a woman reaching the end of the line of pictures on Ridge Avenue told the volunteer holding the warning sign that the photographs of aborted babies had done the job and that she was canceling her scheduled abortion.

2007 Truth Tour Success

This abortion-bound woman was deeply touched by the pictures and said she had no idea that an abortion was so violent. We know of other conversions and have a record of at least twenty saves four years ago on our Summer Tour.

A break-through occurred on the Tour when Kim Lovejoy-Voss of the Joliet Catholic Explorer was able to get her full-color photograph of a first trimester abortion to accompany her very informative and accurate story. She also took the photograph. This is a first. Hats off to Kim Lovejoy-Voss.

Something else unusual about this year was the large number of people simply driving or walking by who were so taken by the program that they joined us to hold a sign. Our largest turnout was the last site, in Lincolnwood at Mc Cormick Blvd. and Touhy Avenue. Lines on both sides of the highway were half-a-mile long. Quite a sight to see.

The “After-the-Tour” party at the Scheidler’s was a time of relaxation, good food and friendship. We feel sorry for people who don’t have an annual summer Face-the-Truth Tour to look forward to every year.

Court Victory for Showing Graphic Signs

A big victory for pro-life activists last week in ‘Anoka, MN when pro-life protesters Robert Rudnick and Luke Otterstad won a case involving graphic pictures of aborted babies.

The pro-lifers were in Minnesota in 2004 trying to defeat pro-abortion politicians there. They had set up a graphic sign and a poster on a bridge over Highway 10, calling for the defeat of a pro-abort candidate. They were arrested. Two days later they were arrested again, and later convicted of violating a local sign ordinance and causing a public nuisance.

But last Thursday the Minnesota Supreme Court unanimously overturned their convictions. Four judges said the signs neither constituted a public nuisance nor endangered public safety, as the city had alleged, and a concurring opinion added that the arrests violated Rudnick and Otterstad’s first amendment rights.

They had been sentenced to 60 days in jail, fined $600 each and put on two year probation, though sentences and fines were suspended pending appeal.

While the hostile trial judge had said the signs were distracting to drivers, this gimmick was shot down when Supreme court Justice G. Barry Anderson, author of the decision, wrote that the highways are awash with signs, political, commercial, informational and all vying for the attention of motorists. Their signs were not distracting anyone.

Rudnick said that if police are allowed to violated pro-lifers’ first amendment rights, then nobody’s rights were safe. It was generally agreed that it was what was on the signs that upset the police more than any real problem of safety. Even the ACLU said the ruling in favor of the signs was the right ruling.

This ruling is particularly important to the Pro-Life Acton League and those who have taken part in any of our nearly two-hundred Face the Truth Tours, because we have been likewise threatened with arrest and confiscation of our signs by police in two jurisdictions, Mundelein IL a year ago and Bridgeview IL this year. In both instances we were threatened with arrest and ordered to discontinue our program, which we were forced to do. We are gathering all the evidence to charge these jurisdictions with violations of our first amendment rights.

Thus the recent ruling in Minnesota in favor of using the signs bodes well for us. A victory here in Illinois would not only make it easier to conduct our truth tours, but any punitive monetary damages could help finance our Tours. Our hats are off to pro-life activists Bob Rudnick and Luke Otterstad for taking the case to court and staying the course.

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