Group seeks to strike down California censorship of graphic abortion signs
Sacramento, California, August 4, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The Center for Bio-Ethical Reform (CBR) is preparing a lawsuit to strike down a California “school safety” law. The law sought to address the controversy over a March 2003 CBR anti-abortion demonstration on the streets around Dodson Middle School in Rancho Palos Verdes.
The March 2003 CBR demonstration, part of CBR’s effort to expose as many people as possible to the horrors and realities of abortion, included billboard-sized graphic photographs of aborted fetuses.
“Students, who were walking to and being dropped off for classes, became agitated because of the disturbing nature of the photographs,” according to the CBR. “Some became angry, some began to cry, and others stared while standing in the street and on the sidewalk. The school’s administrators notified the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department and the sheriffs detained the demonstrators, based on the determination that Penal Code section 626.8 had been violated.”
The CBR filed a subsequent lawsuit and eventually won on appeal in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The Ninth Circuit ruled that Los Angeles County violated the pro-lifers’ First Amendment right to Free Speech and their Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable police seizures when they halted the peaceful demonstration. Los Angeles County was forced to pay CBR’s $260,000 legal fees.
“The legislation in question,” reported the Los Angeles Times, “which takes effect Jan. 1, creates a new misdemeanor crime for creating a disturbance on or next to an elementary or middle school campus where the action threatens the physical safety of students”. Violators of the law face up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $500.
CBR Executive Director Gregg Cunningham told LifeSiteNews that the new law is “so patently unconstitutional that we will overturn it in court before it can be enacted elsewhere.” The measure’s author, Democratic Assemblymen Tony Mendoza of Artesia, Cunningham stated, “is a typical pro-abortion Democrat who is so obsessed with hiding the horror of abortion that he is willing to trash the First Amendment to prevent students from seeing the truth about ‘choice.’”