Jacksonville, NC Stops Restricting Pro-Life Activists’ Free SpeechMarch 7, 2012 No Comments
March 7, 2012 | MariaNews.com
Jacksonville, NC Stops Restricting Pro-Life Activists’ Free Speech
Federal Court Approves Consent Order Between Thomas More Society Attorneys and City
(TCPR.net) – Jacksonville, NC (March 6, 2012) – Today, U.S. District Judge Terrence W. Boyle approved a consent order between attorneys with the Thomas More Society and attorneys for Jacksonville, NC, requiring the city to modify its public assembly ordinances to stop violating constitutionally-protected free speech. The ordinances had suppressed free expression of pro-life activists, including lead plaintiff Dr. Bartolo Spano, according to the original lawsuit filed in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina. A copy of the consent order approved by the court is available here.
The suit was filed last year because Jacksonville’s Chief of Police stopped Spano and other pro-life advocates from praying and picketing outside the front entrance of the Crist Clinic for Women, a Jacksonville abortion facility, trying to force the picketers to a rear entrance, less visible to the public. Thomas More Society’s suit argued that the First Amendment protects these pro-life advocates’ right to peacefully protest on the public right of way at the front entrance to the clinic. After the suit was filed, Jacksonville agreed, and the consent order requires Jacksonville to make several revisions to its public assembly ordinances to protect any lawful assembly of pro-life activists or others in the free exercise of their First Amendment rights.
“This is a great win for free speech for Jacksonville’s citizens ,” said Peter Breen, Thomas More Society’s executive director and legal counsel. “Our clients, pro-life activists who want to help women and children, will no longer be subject to police prohibiting their legally protected public assembly.”
Links to court documents available:
About the Thomas More Society
Founded in 1997, the Chicago-based Thomas More Society is a national public interest law firm that seeks to restore respect in law for life, marriage, and religious liberty. The Society is a nonprofit organization wholly supported by private donations. For more information or to support the work of Thomas More Society, please visit www.thomasmoresociety.org.
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Tags: Crist Clinic for Women, Dr Bartolo Spano, Jacksonville Abortion Facility, MariaNews.com, pregnancy help, Pro Life news, Spano, Thomas More Society, US District Judge Terrence W. BoyleFeatured Article, Life, News