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We must not allow the pro-life message to be silenced!

by | Nov 16, 2015

By Carol Tobias, President

National Right to Life President Carol Tobias

National Right to Life President Carol Tobias

Editor’s note. This president’s column appears on page three of the November digital edition of National Right to Life News. You can read the entire 41-page issues at www.nrlc.org/uploads/NRLNews/
NRLNewsNov2015.pdf
. Please pass this column, and the entirely of the November NRL News issue, along to your pro-life contacts.

The first amendment to the U.S. Constitution reads, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

So when Congress, under the guise of “campaign-finance reform,” tries to tell individuals they don’t have the right to exercise their freedom of speech to oppose candidates for office, we fight back. We hope the courts will protect that right from government encroachment.

But what do you do when it isn’t Congress trying to suppress free speech but other individuals who just don’t like what you’re saying?

On November 12, Megyn Kelly of Fox News interviewed both Alan Dershowitz (a pro-abortion liberal, lawyer, Harvard law professor, and author) and Peggy Noonan (a pro-life conservative, author, and former Ronald Reagan speechwriter). Both were expressing their concerns about how free speech is being restricted, or even shouted down, because people don’t want their feelings hurt.

More than 20 years ago, Nat Hentoff, author, columnist, and pro-life liberal wrote a book called, Free Speech for Me but Not for Thee. That was a great prophetic summary of what seems to be happening in our country today. If your beliefs or opinions are considered “offensive” to someone, you’re supposed to be quiet, tone it down, or just shut up.

Pro-lifers are the victims of that thought mentality –some would say Thought Police–far too often. This takes many forms.

For example, for many years, men have been told that abortion is a “woman’s issue” about which they have no right to say anything. Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO) elevated this demand for self-censorship with a recent video in which she stated, “As one of just 20 women currently in the Senate, it’s important to me to encourage more women to run for office. But equally important is encouraging more men to sometimes just shut the hell up. It’s not that women don’t value your thoughts, it’s just that we don’t value all of them. The world doesn’t need your opinion on everything. For example, what women do with their bodies. Hush.”

Responding to criticism on Twitter, she wrote that the video was created as a joke. But as several responding tweets stated, it wouldn’t be so funny if a man had said the same thing to women. The defense that it was a “joke” would sink like a lead balloon.

We know far too many men who wanted to save their unborn children from abortion but weren’t able to do so. Legally, men have no right to protect their unborn children but they should at least have the ability to speak out about protecting those babies. This is the United States of America, right?

What is taking place on college campuses is another phase of the campaign to stifle free expression. Pro-life groups have seen their speech rights trampled, literally and figuratively. Flyers calling for the defunding of Planned Parenthood were torn down at American University in Washington, DC. Students at the University of North Carolina are able to write messages in chalk on sidewalks to share their opinions. But positive, life-affirming, messages left on sidewalks by pro-life students were erased by other students who claimed the messages would trigger violence. Pro-life displays are often ripped apart or torn down. So who is acting violently?

Ryan Bomberger, an African-American and founder of the pro-life Radiance Foundation, got frustrated with the pro-abortion position of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). He began to refer to the group as the National Association for the Abortion of Colored People. The NAACP sued and won the first round in federal court. Fortunately, an appeal to a higher court was successful in determining that Mr. Bomberger’s free speech rights still exist.

On the flip side of being told to shut up is being told what you must say. Several cities have tried to tell pregnancy resource centers what they can or cannot tell the women they seek to help. Fortunately, most of these laws have been overturned in the courts, but these NARAL-inspired laws keep getting passed. Just last month, the state of California took it to a new level.

California passed a law to force pregnancy resource centers that offer medical services to give every client information about how they may be eligible for free or low-cost family planning services, prenatal care, and abortion from the state, along with a phone number for where to get further information.

Can you imagine a state government telling a Ford dealer that it has to tell customers where they can buy a Honda? Or forcing Taco Bell to tell customers it only serves Pepsi products and that if they want Coke, where they can find the closest McDonalds?

But this law is more serious than just product competition. Pregnancy resource centers have a moral objection to telling a woman where she can go to kill her child. This is a free speech issue and will be argued in court on that basis, but for many of the workers at these centers, it’s also an infringement on their religious beliefs.

Pregnancy help centers that do not offer medical services are required to post, in several clear and conspicuous places, “in no less than 48-point type,” a message that the facility “is not licensed as a medical facility by the state of California and has no licensed medical provider” on hand.

A lawsuit has been filed against this egregious edict and we certainly hope and pray for a victory.

We must be vigilant. We are the voice for voiceless, innocent unborn children and we cannot allow our beliefs and our opinions to be silenced. If we are not able to speak for these little ones, the killing will continue and, indeed, even increase.

Categories: Pro-Lifers
Tags: pro-life