Victory for Pro-Life Protesters | American Center for Law and Justice
  Search  |  Login  |  Register

ACLJ Profile Completion


Victory for Pro-Life Protesters

By David French1340217028000

ACLJ received notice today from the New York City Law Department that it would withdraw summonses wrongfully issued by the NYPD to three residents of Brooklyn, New York for peacefully holding up pro-life signs on a public sidewalk near a public high school. All three protesters were holding pro-life signs designed to educate the public about the harsh realities of abortion when they were confronted by police.

The officers handcuffed all three individuals, drove them to the precinct where they were held for approximately one hour, and cited each for violation of New York Penal Code 240.35(5), which prohibits loitering “in or about school grounds.”

Convinced that pro-life protest was not “loitering,” the protesters contacted the ACLJ. We immediately wrote New York’s Law Department and demanded that the charges be dismissed, and the protesters be permitted to continue their peaceful free speech activities on the public sidewalks in front of New York schools without further interference. In our letter, we reminded the department that the Supreme Court has made clear “that the public sidewalk adjacent to school grounds may not be declared off limits for expressive activity by members of the public.” Grayned v. City of Rockford, 408 U.S. 104, 118 (1972). Once more “speech on ‘matters of public concern’ . . . is ‘at the heart of the First Amendment’s protection.’” Dun & Bradstreet, Inc. v. Greenmoss Builders, Inc., 472 U.S. 749, 758-759, 105 S. Ct. 2939, 86 L. Ed. 2d 593 (1985) (opinion of Powell, J.) (quoting First Nat. Bank of Boston v. Bellotti, 435 U.S. 765, 776, 98 S. Ct. 1407, 55 L. Ed. 2d 707 (1978)). Accordingly, “speech on public issues occupies the highest rung of the hierarchy of First Amendment values, and is entitled to special protection.” Connick v. Myers, 461 U.S. 138, 145, 103 S. Ct. 1684, 75 L. Ed. 2d 708 (1983) (internal quotation marks omitted).

Without question the protesters speech is protected under the First Amendment, but this is not the first time NYPD has wrongfully used the anti-loitering statute to silence protest. NYPD’s continued classification of such speech as loitering is troubling, and ACLJ will continue to respectfully and vigilantly protect the right of citizens to educate our nation about the tragic reality of abortion.

Latest in
Pro Life

JSL: The Cultural Battle of the 2020 Election

By Jordan Sekulow1558466373402

The Fight for Life is an issue that drives much of our work at the ACLJ, and now it’s proving to be the cultural issue that will shape the 2020 presidential election and the future of our nation. Today on the show, we discussed the battle for life taking place in our state legislatures across the...

read more

MO to be Latest State to Protect Unborn Babies

By Matthew Clark1558107086227

In a victory for countless unborn babies, another state is defying the pro-abortion Left and Planned Parenthood as they try to push their extreme late-term abortion laws on our nation. Missouri is on the verge of becoming the latest state to pass a Heartbeat Bill that bans abortions after a fetal...

read more

France Must Protect Vincent Lambert

By Gregor Puppinck1557950724666

On May 3, 2019, the U.N. Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) issued a request to the French Government to halt the euthanasia of Vincent Lambert while the CRPD Committee reviews the petition by Mr. Lambert’s parents requesting the same. This request has caused confusion and...

read more

Judges Block Regulations Defunding Planned Parenthood

By Laura Hernandez1557498835120

Two federal judges have now issued nationwide injunctions blocking new federal regulations that would have defunded as much as $60 million in taxpayer funding from Planned Parenthood – the nation’s largest abortion business. Now these cases are headed to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, and the...

read more