In response to the media coverage of the Pro-Life Action League’s visit to Batavia, Illinois on July 9 during our summer Face the Truth Tour, MySuburbanLife columnist Jerry Moore published a defense of the League’s constitutionally protected tactics.
Without taking sides on the abortion issue—or even saying whether or not he approved of the Truth Tour approach—Moore made the point that messages like ours—messages which many people simply don’t want to hear—are exactly what the Constitution was intended to protect. In the August 3 piece, entitled “Free speech—Love it or hate it, be glad you have it,” Moore writes:
[W]hether you agree with the Pro-Life Action League or not, this incident underscores the First Amendment’s value. Although the expression of all ideas should be protected by the U.S. Constitution, popular sentiments don’t necessarily require legal safeguards.
It’s the unpopular or unsettling ideas that lean most heavily on our constitutional protections. Despite our nation’s commitment to free speech, we tend to urge lawmakers to curtail the expression of ideas we don’t like.
Moore also quoted from a letter to the editor by my father, Joe Scheidler, including this passage:
We realize that it is shocking to most people to see pictures of the mangled bodies of aborted babies. What is worse, though, is that abortion is allowed to kill over 3,300 innocent children every day in America.
Moore also quoted my father’s remarks on the Warning signs that we put up to alert drivers who would prefer to take an alternate route.
Some might complain that Moore is taking our side, but I think what he’s really doing is showing that our purpose in the Face the Truth Tour is indeed to deliver a message we consider urgent—not just to upset or shock people for its own sake. In other words, we’re doing exactly what the First Amendment is all about.
Moore concludes: “We should embrace the First Amendment as much when it safeguards ideas we hate as when it shields ideas we cherish.”
Thanks to Jerry Moore for clarifying the Free Speech issues here. Freedoms we do not exercise will soon be lost—and nobody is keeping the First Amendment in top form more than we pro-life activists.