Stericycle tried to ban pro-lifers from exposing them for dumping aborted babies’ bodies. They just lost.
WAUKEGAN, Illinois, September 29, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Pro-life leaders may aggressively speak out against Stericycle, a company implicated in dumping the bodies of aborted babies in landfills, a judge has ruled.
Last December, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine requested “documents from Planned Parenthood, specifically where do they dispose of their aborted fetuses,” and learned that Stericycle had taken fetal cadavers from Planned Parenthood to a landfill, something the attorney general said may have violated state law.
In response, Created Equal, a Columbus-based pro-life organization, launched an “awareness campaign” against Stericycle, including its president and CEO, Charles A. Alutto. Its volunteers blanketed the North Shore area with images of aborted babies and distributed a flier to Alutto’s Lake Forest neighbors that included his home address and business phone number.
After Stericycle failed to get a restraining order to legally prevent his exposure last April, the company accused pro-life volunteers of defamation, false light, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
Judge Margaret A. Marcouiller of the 19th Judicial Circuit Court dismissed those charges in a 20-page opinion issued Thursday. The company may not appeal.
"This latest dismissal of Stericycle's lawsuit constitutes another signal victory for free speech on the part of ordinary citizens," stated the society’s president and chief counsel, Tom Brejcha.
The pro-life cause prevailed despite what Brejcha described as a “David vs. Goliath” legal battle. Stericycle was represented by former chief U. S. Attorney Scott Lassar and others at the elite law firm Sidley Austin LLP. Created Equal relied on pro bono representation from the Thomas More Society.
"The court recognized that no business is immune from public criticism of practices that citizens deem profoundly objectionable on moral or legal grounds," Brejcha said. "Those companies, like Stericycle, that partner with the abortion industry are not exempt from critiques even when – as in this case – the critiques have been scathing and vigorous."
Mark Harrington, the president of Created Equal, said that “pro-life free speech and the rule of law prevailed” and that “corporate bullies like Stericycle are not immune from exposure for their involvement in abortion.”
It wasn’t all good news. Judge Marcouiller is allowing the company to progress with its allegation that Created Equal deliberately caused Alutto emotional distress.
In the meantime, Harrington promises, he will not back down.
“Stericycle needs to stop enabling Planned Parenthood 's killing machine," Harrington said. “If they continue to partner with the abortion industry, the campaign to expose them will continue.”