Contact: Mark Harrington, Created Equal, 614-419-9000, firstname.lastname@example.org
COLUMBUS, Ohio, Dec. 9, 2015 /Christian Newswire/ -- Today, NARAL Ohio joined several pro-abortion representatives in the Ohio House to introduce a bill that criminalizes pro-life speech at abortion facilities state-wide. HB 408 attempts to create anti-free speech zones around abortionists, and abortion workers.
According to the bill, an abortion clinic employee can file a civil action against anyone who makes them feel "apprehension, or annoyed" within 15 feet of an abortion center.
HB 408 will open the door to intimidation of peaceful law-abiding protesters and sidewalk counselors and criminalize opposition to abortion under the guise of anti-harassment.
HB 408 is unconstitutional.
"This bill, with its undefined terms such as 'harass' and 'follow,' is an invitation to unconstitutional enforcement by police officers who aren't adequately trained in the area of First Amendment freedoms. Unlike similar laws that are currently in place to protect victims of domestic violence and stalking, this bill is being pushed to advance a political agenda. The lack of any saving language that prohibits the civil and criminal penalties from being imposed on constitutionally protected activity virtually guarantees that, if enacted, its provisions would be abused." -- Catherine Short, Vice President, Legal Affairs, Life Legal Defense Foundation
Created Equal's Statement:
"Abortion advocates are desperate to stop pro-lifers from lawfully opposing abortion because they are losing the debate. When Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was accused by the city officials in Birmingham, AL of fomenting violence because of his peaceful direct action campaigns, he responded, 'It is wrong to urge an individual to cease his efforts to gain his basic constitutional rights because the quest may precipitate violence. Society must protect the robbed and punish the robber.'
"We will not be bullied by abortion advocates to surrender one of our most basic liberties – our freedom of speech." -- Mark Harrington, National Director, Created Equal