Is the First
Amendment for Everyone?
By Charlene E Campbell
Rightgrrl December 1998
Recently in the news there was a story about a pro-life group out of
Oregon who owned a web site called "The Nuremberg Files". This web site
listed the names and addresses of abortionists across the country. The
site claimed that these men and women were war criminals and should be
tried as such by the courts. Unfortunately, they took it a step further
by crossing off the name of any abortionist who was murdered. Not only
was this tasteless and inhumane, but it also implied that somehow the
pro-life movement was involved in these horrific murders. Most pro-life
groups would agree with their pro-choice counterparts that this site was
offensive and morally inexcusable.
The question is not whether or not "The Nuremberg Files" was offensive: It
was. The question is, did it deserve to be shut down given our first
amendment right to free speech? The only time that free speech can be
legally squelched is when it is slanderous or when it incites undo panic
or violence. In light of this I would argue that no, the site should not
have been taken off of the internet. The assessment that abortion is a war
crime and abortionists should be tried as war criminals are matters of
opinion. Everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion. Noone called
for their murder…they called for them to be arrested as criminals and
tried in a court. Crossing off the names of murdered abortionists was
tasteless, but I truly do not believe that it incited anyone to undo panic
The bottom line is that everyone has the right to free speech in this
country whether or not we like their opinions: Everyone, it seems, but a
few less than tactful pro-lifers.
The Ku Klux Klan marches down the streets of African-American
neighborhoods spewing hate-filled rhetoric. The American Civil Liberties
Union even defends the KKK's right to do this because it is their first
Pornography has been proven to be a tool used by child molesters and
sexual predators. The images on the pages of the books, magazines, and
internet sites are a part of their sick rituals to harm other human
beings. The government refuses to put an end to pornography based on the
first amendment right to free speech.
If these activities are allowed in the name of the first amendment then
anything should be allowed. Yet pro-life groups, who in no way fall into
the same category as the KKK and pornographers, have their rights taken
Pro-life groups cannot even counsel women outside of abortion clinics
without a judge imposing a "bubble-zone" on them. Telling them where they
can and cannot stand on a PUBLIC sidewalk. Pro-life groups cannot do
anything without the fear that they will be sued under FACE or RICO, which
have now been interpreted in such broad ways that other activist
organizations are beginning to take notice and become fearful.
In the case of the Nuremberg Files, it was argued that this group violated
the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) law. The prosecution
argued that because the site crossed off the names of murdered abortionist
and called them war criminals, an environment of fear was created. This
environment made it uncomfortable for abortionists, clinic workers, and
patients to enter the abortion mill. Therefore, they argued, this was a
violation of FACE. This website
was said to limit a woman's access to abortion.
Joe Scheidler and the Pro-Life Action League were sued under the RICO
statute. They claimed that he was in the business of trying to shut down
the abortion industry and that was considered racketeering. A part of the
evidence that was presented by the prosecution was that Mr. Scheidler
organized meetings once a year between his group and other pro-life
organizations to share ideas and strategies. This was considered a
conspiracy against the abortion industry.
What is next? Who is next? What is wrong with all of this? Why is it
that the groups who scream the loudest that others are violating their
rights are the same groups who work tooth and nail to limit the rights of
A perfect example of this is happening on university campuses all across
America. A group called the "Center for Bio-ethical Reform" is engaged in
a project called the Genocide Awareness Project (GAP). GAP is a display
of large signs which depict the similarities between the genocide of the
Holocaust, the Black slaves in America, the American Indians, and the
Cambodians under Pol Pot with the Genocide that has taken place against
the world's unborn children. The signs are disturbing, but abortion and
genocide are disturbing. You can not sugarcoat them. On every campus the
pro-abortion camp has argued that the Center for Bio-ethical Reform has no
right to be there. They have done everything they can to squelch CBR's
first amendment right to show and tell the truth. They have pleaded with
the administration. They have tried to block the display with protesters.
They have tried to cut the signs with knives. They have tried to run the
signs over with cars. The hypocrisy is almost comical.
Pro-abortion groups devalue their own platform by advocating the position
that in order to secure their rights they must sacrifice the rights of the
unborn. They do this again when they advocate silencing anyone who does
not hold the same opinion as theirs. These groups want their rights to
choose child-murder protected. However they do not want anyone who
opposes their view to have the first amendment right to disagree with
them. Once again, they show their true colors. They are willing to step
all over the rights of others to ensure their own perceived freedoms.
This is where they fail.
This article copyright © 1999 by Charlene E Campbell and may not be
reproduced in any form without the express written consent of its author.
All rights reserved.