'Buffer zone' blocks out Constitution

Wednesday, December 9, 2020
 | 
Chris Woodward (OneNewsNow.com)

First Amendment attackThe Supreme Court may soon decide whether to take up a case involving Pittsburgh's "buffer zone" law.

Attorney Elissa Graves of Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), the law firm representing the 40 Days for Life campaign, says the core of this case is that the right to free speech is for everyone, not just for those in power.

"The government cannot silence speakers just because it doesn't like what they say," Graves continues. "But that’s what the city of Pittsburgh is trying to do. It has created this 30-foot diameter buffer zone where sidewalk counselors cannot speak to women outside of the Pittsburgh Planned Parenthood."

That, says Graves, is unconstitutional.

Graves

"Pittsburgh allows others to speak face-to-face in this zone because it deems their expression social or random in nature," Graves details. "The city has even said that they can speak about the weather, they can talk about the Pittsburgh Steelers, and the escorts are free to speak to women entering and exiting the facility, but they often will block sidewalk counselors from speaking to the women going in, or they'll talk over them. So it seems as that the only one-on-one conversation that is prohibited is sidewalk counseling."

The ADF attorney notes that the Supreme Court held in 2014 that a 35-foot buffer zone in Massachusetts was unconstitutional. That decision, however, applies only to the Massachusetts law.

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