A First Amendment Exception?

  A Colorado law prohibits any person within a hundred feet of a "health care facility" to come within eight feet of another person to hand out leaflets. They may not display a sign or "engage in oral protest, education, or counseling with that person." So is this a violation of the First Amendment's prohibition of "laws abridging the freedom of speech"? You would think so, but the Supreme Court says no. In Hill v. Colorado, the Court ruled that Colorado's statute is valid. Justice Stevens said it is a "content-neutral" restriction that regulates, "not speech," but merely certain "places where some speech may occur." But wait a minute, you say: Aren't liberals supposed to be champions of individual freedoms -- especially free speech? They claim that burning the American flag is constitutionally protected speech. They say even Nazis have a First Amendment right to parade their hate past the homes of elderly Holocaust survivors in Skokie, Illinois. Indeed, liberal judges accused the State of Indiana of shredding the First Amendment when it enforced public nudity laws against table-top dancers at the Kitty Kat Lounge in South Bend. Wiggling one's naked body in a public barroom, they say, is "free speech." But protesting, displaying signs and handing out leaflets in front of a "health care facility," is not constitutionally protected speech. What on earth is going on here? Well, as you've no doubt guessed, the so called "health care" facilities that Colorado's law was designed to shield from protests are abortion clinics. The women entering these specially protected facilities are not sick, but pregnant. The "choices" they're about to execute are not "health care" choices, but, rather, what abortion defender Ronald Dworkin, with remarkable candor, describes as "choices for death." And to immunize such "choices" from legal restriction -- or even private efforts to dissuade women from submitting to abortion -- liberal judges set into motion what Justice Scalia, in his dissent, described as "the ad hoc nullification machine that . . . pushes aside whatever doctrines of constitutional law stand in the way of that highly favored practice." That is, abortion. Well, Justice Scalia hit the nail on the head. Abortion is pure destruction. It destroys the precious human beings whose lives are snuffed out in utero. It is destructive of the interests of women who are so very often, and in so many respects, truly abortion's "secondary victims." Abortion's record is one of taint and damage to everything it touches, not least, fundamental American constitutional principles. Free speech and religious liberty are only its most recent victims. Does anyone doubt how the Court's liberals would have resolved this case if, instead of abortion clinics, coal mines, or gun dealers, or tobacco shops would have been the "facilities" singled out for unique immunities from First Amendment guarantees? This case exposes the rank hypocrisy of the court. Hill v. Colorado came out as it did because the speech actually restricted by the law is pro-life speech. Our neighbors need to understand the issues here. Christians are often accused of being bigoted and hypocritical. Well, simply lay out the facts. And when you do it becomes clear to all who the real hypocrites are in this, the greatest moral debate of our time. For reference: Colorado Rev. Stat. Section 18 -- 9 -- 122(3). Hill v Colorado (98-1856), 973 P.2d 1246, (2000).


Chuck Colson


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