Tom and Jerry: Defenders of All Things Right and Good

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Latest Instance of ACLU Hypocrisy

The American Civil Liberties Union is an organization dedicated to protecting the Bill of Rights.  They pride themselves in protecting the 1st through 10th Amendments (except the 2nd), the 13th through 15th Amendments and the 19th Amendment.  In other words, they believe in protecting individual liberty.  Here is first part of the ACLU mission statement:

The mission of the ACLU is to preserve all of these protections and guarantees:
  • Your First Amendment rights - freedom of speech, association and assembly; freedom of the press, and freedom of religion.
  • Your right to equal protection under the law - equal treatment regardless of race, sex, religion or national origin.
  • Your right to due process - fair treatment by the government whenever the loss of your liberty or property is at stake.
  • Your right to privacy - freedom from unwarranted government intrusion into your personal and private affairs.
[emphasis mine]

The priorities of the ACLU are clear: protect your first amendment rights to free speech, freedom of assembly and freedom of religion.

Not quite.

The New York chapter of the ACLU testified before the New York city council in support of a bill which would limit the rights of pro-life protesters.  Of course, the ACLU claims that the New York bill will not infringe upon the rights of pro-lifers to speak freely and assemble.  However, others disagree:
The purpose of the press event — to attempt to silence pro-life prayer and free speech outside abortion facilities by proposing a restrictive 15-foot “buffer zone” around all abortion centers in New York City.

The proposed bill would also allow abortion workers to file harassment charges against pro-lifers as well as “ease the burden of proof” currently necessary to prosecute on harassment charges, according to the press release issued by the New York City Council.

This measure flies in the face of both freedom of speech and freedom of assembly.

The 15 foot buffer zone is restriction enough, but the real danger of this bill is the vague language of "harassment." If you read pro-choice websites, these people consider silent prayer outside a clinic "intimidation" and "harassment." Although the authors of this bill claim they do not intend to restrict freedom of expression, it would be easy for a liberal judge to rule that prayer is intimidating and therefore illegal within 15 feet of an abortion clinic.

Many in the pro-life movement are confident that this bill will be overturned because it is unconstitutional. It is ironic, dare I say hypocritical, to see the ACLU arguing for greater restrictions on freedom of speech and assembly.

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