2015 Victories: Protecting the Free Speech Rights of Those Who Are Defending Lives



December 9, 2015

2 min read

Free Speech



This is the latest installment in a year-end series looking back at a few of the many victories by the ACLJ in 2015.

Earlier this year, the ACLJ secured a huge victory for pro-life sidewalk counselors in Florida – protecting their free speech right to share the lifesaving message of hope with women outside abortion clinics.

For more than a decade, Judith Minahan and JoAnn O’Connell ministered to women in need outside a Fort Myers abortion clinic.  They lovingly counseled women about alternatives to abortion, about the baby growing inside of them, and how they could receive needed care.

Their pro-life work saved lives.

Their ministry continued for years, until a police officer threatened to arrest them under a blatantly unconstitutional ordinance.

The ACLJ quickly stepped in on behalf of Judith and JoAnn to file a lawsuit against the City of Fort Myers, Florida for infringing on their First Amendment rights.  Ultimately, the case was settled through a consent judgment in favor of Judith and JoAnn.  Now, they can continue their important work without fear of being wrongfully cited under the loitering ordinance.

This is a major victory for not only Judith and JoAnn, allowing them to continue their ministry, but also for other pro-life counselors, women in needs, and unborn children.  Women in Fort Myers are now able to receive important pro-life information that they would not receive from an abortion clinic.  And unborn babies are being saved one precious life at a time.

To help the ACLJ continue to have the resources we need to make these victories possible and continue these fights, please consider making a tax-deductible donation to the ACLJ through our year-end Matching Challenge.  Your gift will be doubled dollar-for-dollar through the end of the year.

You will be able to read more in the ACLJ’s 2015 Victories series here.