State Sued for Limiting Speech that Opposes Abortion

June 3, 2023
World Net Daily

This story was originally published by the WND News Center.

Colorado has a long-established record of being pro-abortion. In fact, in a post-Roe world, it now promotes itself as a destination for those seeking to destroy their unborn children.

And the legislature, majority Democrat, previously voted that there are never any "rights" for the unborn in the state.

But a new lawsuit charges that the state, led by Democrat homosexual Gov. Jared Polis, has gone too far by limiting what is said about abortion near abortion businesses based on the viewpoint.

First Liberty Institute and the law firm Cooper & Kirk, PLLC, have filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of Wendy Faustin, a pro-life advocate and sidewalk counselor, in the United States District Court of Colorado.

The case charges that state and local restrictions on engaging in speech outside of abortion centers violate the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

"The government may not target life-affirming speech simply because it disagrees with the message. That is unlawful viewpoint discrimination," said Roger Byron, senior counsel for First Liberty Institute. "It should not be a crime to lovingly and compassionately approach another person to tell them about alternatives to abortion."

Charles Cooper, of Cooper & Kirk, added, "The First Amendment presumes it is unconstitutional for the government to restrict a private citizen’s expression because of 'its message, its ideas, its subject matter, or its content.' The laws imposed by Colorado and Denver favor one message over another. That’s unconstitutional."

First Liberty explained the background, that, "Wendy Faustin believes that life begins at conception, that all human life has God-given worth and dignity, and that ending the life of the unborn is morally wrong. She feels compelled by these beliefs to advocate publicly on behalf of the unborn and provide loving help and counsel to women considering abortion."

But, the legal team explained, "State law and a local ordinance prohibit 'knowingly approach[ing] another person within eight feet' on streets or sidewalks within a 100 foot radius of the entrance to a 'health-care facility' – i.e., an abortion center – 'for the purpose of passing a leaflet or handbill to . . . , or engaging in oral protest, education, or counseling with such other person.'"

The institute noted that Colorado's law was upheld decades ago by the Supreme Court, but it explained that the ruling "distorted First Amendment doctrines" and intervening cases make clear it should be overturned.

Faustin, "Therefore institutes this litigation to vindicate her First Amendment rights and to seek to have Hill overruled," the team said.

"The First Amendment's Free Speech Clause guarantees the fundamental right of 'those who share an abiding moral or religious conviction (or, for that matter, simply a biological appreciation) that abortion is the taking of a human life' to try 'to persuade women, one by one, not to make that choice' in 'the most effective place, if not the only place, where that persuasion can occur' – 'outside the entrances to abortion facilities," the briefing charges.

In fact, Justice Antonin Scalia, at the time, affirmed that this "freedom to speak and persuade is inseparable from and antecedent to, the survival of self-government."

The complaint explains Faustin "believes that abortion is a horrific moral wrong" and she wishes to try to persuade women "in the only place and at the only time she realistically can: outside of the abortion clinic, in the last few minutes before they obtain the abortion."

But the state of Colorado and the city of Denver have imposed a viewpoint-based program of discrimination, banning such discussions.

"Defendants' ban on approaching women outside of abortion clinics to speak with them unquestionably discriminates based on the content – and even the viewpoint – of speech," the filing explains.

Quoting Scalia, it noted, "Suffice it to say that if protecting people from unwelcome communications … is a compelling state interest, the First Amendment is a dead letter."


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