Why I’m glad abortion protesters were just dealt a setback (Opinion)
Some time ago Englewood, NJ passed an ordinance the kept protesters from coming within 8 feet of the entrances to Metropolitan Medical Associates. Abortions were performed there. One woman, Jeryl Turco, who describes herself not as a protester but a 'sidewalk counselor' according to NJ.com, lawyered up and won. A lower court sided with her that a simple 8 foot rule somehow violated her free speech.
Now the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia has ruled the case should be sent back down to the lower court to have another look. The appeals court described the abortion protesters as "extremely aggressive, loud, intimidating, and harassing."
"We simply cannot conclude that the eight-foot buffer zones established under the ordinance posed a severe burden on speech," wrote the court.
And they're right. The reason the protesters don't like a small 8 foot buffer zone is because it keeps them from getting right in the faces of women making the hardest decision of their lives and screaming bloody murder at them.
I'll cite a case of an old dear friend of mine. George was a giant of a man and a semi-pro wrestler. His girlfriend got pregnant. And they were ecstatic. His heart was even bigger than his 6 foot 7 frame and he and his girlfriend were filled with joy to be parents.
Then they got bad news. Then worse news. And it just kept coming. The child had a genetic disorder that was unable to be cured and it meant the child would only live for a few weeks at best. It's been almost 15 years but if memory serves it was in the trisomy chromosomes category of disorders. What I recall for certain is there was absolutely nothing any doctor could do and the baby would live only a very short time and also be in a lot of pain as it failed. Then they discovered multiple other disorders. Which medical experts explained would cause even more physical misery for this baby as it simply waited for its body to fail and die.
George was heartbroken and also guilt-stricken because he wrongly assumed it was all his fault since he had smoked weed as a younger man. The doctors assured him this had nothing to do with it but he couldn't shake the needless guilt. The doctors advised the couple that the best thing for the child was an abortion rather than let it suffer for days or weeks. They bitterly came to the conclusion that the doctors were right. It was the kindest thing to do.
The day George brought his girlfriend in for the procedure that was already breaking their hearts, there were protesters. They shook signs with the name of Jesus on them and they got right up into the girlfriend's face (without touching her) and spat out words like murderer and sinner. One protester screamed at them and the passing traffic with a bullhorn. Once they made it inside the girlfriend collapsed in tears. Another couple came in and shared their story of being equally harassed and turned out the reason they were there was similar. Different genetic disorder, but the life of their child would have been limited and filled with pain. Hearing that a second couple in virtually the same situation had suffered the same indignity, George had had enough. He got a nurse to stay with his girlfriend while he went back outside.
He unleashed his anger on them, screaming at them, sharing the stories of both couples and why they were there. Hollering at them that they were all heartbroken to be doing this. Explaining that it was for the best and not out of any convenience for the parents. He was red in the face, his 6 foot 7 frame stalking back and forth getting as close to the protesters as they had gotten to his girlfriend. He told me he honestly thought any moment he would start swinging and only the fear in the protesters eyes kept him from doing it. The last thing he screamed at them was that he was going inside and would be coming back out in exactly ten minutes and that if anyone was still there he swore he would put them in a hospital.
He did exactly what he said and found the parking lot empty. It was the single worst day of George's life. No sidewalk counselor needed to be within 8 feet of him.
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