ACLU: On Our Side on First Amendment, Not on Abortion

aclu1There are two very different stories you find when you search the news for “ACLU” and “Illinois” today.

The first is a story about the ACLU suing to protect the rights of private citizens to videotape police officers at work. I’m on the ACLU’s side on this because of my experiences with the police and Planned Parenthood deathscorts after the passage of the Chicago Bubble Zone (more on this below).

TMS Pushes For Enforcement of Parental Notification

The second is concerning the challenge filed by the Thomas More Society Pro-Life Law Center (TMS) in Chicago. They are trying to transfer the Parental Notification case from Appellate Court to the Supreme Court in hopes that the Supreme Court will hear the case and allow the 1995 law to finally be enforced.

It is the ACLU that has taken the lead in preventing the enforcement of this bill.

50,000 Parents Should Have Known About Their Daughters’ Abortions

According to the TMS press release:

Since the Parental Notice Act was signed into law in 1995, more than 50,000 abortions have been performed on pregnant minors in Illinois, including almost 5,000 abortions on girls 14 years of age and younger. Illinois is the only state in the Midwest that does not have a law requiring parental notification or consent prior to an abortion, and more than 55,000 abortions have been performed on non-residents in Illinois since 1995, including an unknown number of out-of-state pregnant minors.

The ACLU’s position—that it is unreasonable to make minors tell (not even get consent from) a parent before having an abortion—makes zero sense to me.

ACLU Case Would Provide More Bubble Protection

As for the eavesdropping charges, though, I hope the ACLU is victorious.

That’s because with the passage of the Chicago Bubble Zone, there is definitely a need to keep an eye on the police to prevent our First Amendment Rights from being taken away or unnecessarily limited.

The interpretation of the Bubble Zone varies depending on which officer answers the call, and we’ve heard different interpretations from the same officer on different weeks. Perhaps that’s part of the reason the ACLU came out against the Bubble Zone in Chicago in the first place!

Sometimes we’re allowed to hold signs wherever we want, other times we’re told the signs can’t even touch the ground.

One day it’s OK to stand next to the door, three days later it’s not. Then in court all charges are dropped—leading one to conclude that it is in fact legal to stand near the doorway of an abortion clinic.

Videotaping Prevents—and Proves—Crimes

This is why we need to be able to tape what the police say, to prevent a crime from occurring. We also need to be able to tape the actions of the “deathscorts” to show when they are the ones committing a crime.

Fortunately so far the police have only taken my picture (twice) to document that I’m taping them and they haven’t arrested me.

However, there is a significant exemption in the Illinois eavesdropping code that does apply to this circumstance making it legal for me to record the conversation as long as I am a party to it or have been given permission by someone who is a party to it to record:

720 ILCS 5/14-3
Sec. 14-3. Exemptions. The following activities shall be exempt from the provisions of this Article:
…(i) Recording of a conversation made by or at the request of a person, not a law enforcement officer or agent of a law enforcement officer, who is a party to the conversation, under reasonable suspicion that another party to the conversation is committing, is about to commit, or has committed a criminal offense against the person or a member of his or her immediate household, and there is reason to believe that evidence of the criminal offense may be obtained by the recording;

I still support the ACLU in their case to allow citizens to protect themselves by recording what the police do and say if it means pro-lifers—and all those who might come into conflict while exercising their First Amendment rights—will be safer.

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