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Jun 27 2014

Maddow: The long history of violence in the anti-choice movement

If you imagine yourself to be defending free speech when you laud the Supreme Court for overturning a buffer zone law, mandating that protesters can’t swarm over abortion clinic patients intimidating them, then you have no sweet clue what “free speech” is. The violence and outright terrorism that happens at abortion protests, that buffer zones have actually helped to curtail to a degree, is not “free speech”.

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  1. 1
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    Yes. This.

    Rachel Maddow is awesome – I’m a huge fan of hers.

    Thanks for this.

  2. 2
    forestdragon

    Protesters ‘simply wish to converse with their fellow citizens’ – riiiiiight.

    And all those people who made my life a living hell when I was a kid in junior high and high school were simply expressing their concern about my lifestyle and their opinion concerning my sense of fashion and lack of friends, not having a great time amusing themselves at my expense.

    What a steaming load of bullshit.

  3. 3
    Hj Hornbeck

    Incidentally, this is the case Maddow was referring to. “This violates the First Amendment!” seems to be a pretty old strategy for the anti-choicers:

    In 1994, reacting to a nationwide problem of violent protests and blockades aimed at both abortion clinics and their patients and employees, “Congress enacted the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act, an act making it a federal crime to engage in certain prohibited activities interfering with the provision or obtainment of ‘reproductive health services.’ ” [...] The Act “forbids the use of force or threats of force or physical obstruction deliberately to injure, intimidate, or interfere with people seeking to obtain or to provide any reproductive medical or other health services, not just abortion, and also people seeking to exercise their religious rights in a church or other house of worship.” …

    Defendants claim that FACE facially violates the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment, contending that it restricts their freedom of expression and imposes an impermissible viewpoint-based restriction on speech.

    Apparently violence is the same as speech, to these people. Telling.

  4. 4
    dickspringer

    Roberts in his opinion said: “The zones thereby compromise petitioners’ ability to initiate the close, personal conversations that they view as essential to ‘sidewalk counseling.’” Does he seriously believe that this is an accurate description of what abortion protesters do in the real world? If so, how does he explain the corpses of abortion providers shot by these “counselors?”

  5. 5
    Crimson Clupeidae

    I might finally get off my lazy butt and see if any of the local clinics need escort volunteers (I doubt it, though, given the general progressiveness of this area).

  6. 6
    Mobius

    Exactly.

    These people are not whispering. IIRC, the buffer was 35 feet. That is not going to keep them from having their shouted message heard. Nor is it going to keep their posters from being seen.

    And while not every abortion protestor is going to harass patients, there are a great many who are. And the buffer helps reduce that harassment.

    And there are certainly a few of the anti-choice crowd that are willing to use violence. The buffer helps reduce the threat from those, as Maddow justly points out.

    This is yet one more, among a long and growing list, of (IMHO) bad, no terrible, decisions that have been made by the Roberts Court…and with the same 5 usual suspects making the decision. These 5 seem to have very little grounding in what the real world is like.

  1. 7

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