Celebrating a big victory for pro-life speech
today at 12:41 pm
How the Supreme Court slayed the cancel culture years ago
Years and years before “cancel culture” entered the popular vocabulary, the abortion industry and its allies tried to silence peaceful protests by pro-life demonstrators.
In one of the most egregious challenges to the First Amendment rights to free speech and assembly, the National Organization for Women and (initially) the Southern Poverty Law Center filed suit to stop pro-life protests outside of abortion clinics.
Making the legal challenge extraordinarily outrageous, the pro-choice plaintiffs tried to use the federal racketeering (RICO), anti-trust and extortion laws to, in effect, bankrupt and thus silence the protestors. Sit-ins, the classic tool of civil rights activists were defined in the suit–for the first time as extortion. As if they were the Chicago Mob.
It was a scheme that shocked even liberals who generally sided with the pro-choice philosophy. Liberals such as the late Sen. Ted Kennedy were among those who clearly insisted during the congressional RICO debate that the law was never intended to silence dissent. The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr’s Southern Christian Leadership Conference and PETA were so horrified by the anti-democratic implications of the lawsuit that they sided with the pro-lifers.
Astonishingly, the Supreme Court had to rule an unprecedented three times, unanimously the last time, to drive home the point that free speech rights in the case were paramount.
This is one of the most important and courageous stories in the long American history of fighting to protect free speech and assembly. It is especially relevant today during the frightening and broad-based campaign by the left to shut down views with which it doesn’t agree.
Among the heroes of the story is Joe Scheidler, a Chicago- based pro-life pioneer who died in January at the age of 93, and his attorney, Their story is retold in a new documentary, Fighting for Life: The Story of NOW v. Scheidler. The story debuts March 22, at 6:30 p.m. (Eastern) on EWTN.
The documentary is sponsored by The Thomas More Society, which Brejcha went on to create to fight for the religious, free speech and other rights of Americans. It’s a David versus Goliath operation, taking on well-funded and large special interests such as the abortion industry.
Learn more about the documentary and the Thomas More Society here.