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First Amendment Flameout

February 26, 2011

Free speech is about the honest ex change of ideas, a fundamental principle of liberal democracy.
So why are allegedly liberal city Democrats seeking to silence speech?
On Thursday, after a 48-hour full-court press from the legislative and political establishment, a Soho anti-abortion billboard ad was taken down.

The ad's text, by a picture of a young black girl, read, "The most dangerous place for an African-American is in the womb," with a Web site for more info.
Sure, the rhetoric is provocative.
But facts are indeed stubborn things.
* African-Americans make up 13 percent of the US population -- but account for more than 30 percent of all abortions, according to the Guttmacher Insitute.
* In New York City, 60 percent of black pregnancies end in abortion -- three abortions per two live births -- according to the Health Department.
Cause for concern?
What do you think?
Should you be allowed to think?
Council Speaker Christine Quinn and Public Advocate Bill de Blasio -- serious mayoral hopefuls both -- agitated hard against the board, having found its message "offensive."
Which is code for: "Shut up, go away. We don't like what you have to say, and we'll be damned before you say it."
And it's not just the billboard.
Quinn is a primary sponsor of a bill -- scheduled for a full council vote Wednesday -- that would impose major free-speech restrictions on city crisis pregnancy centers.
Without any evidence that these centers -- which counsel women on alternatives to abortion -- act irresponsibly or deceptively, Quinn's bill would require them to post signs that abortions or contraception are not provided; tell clients a doctor isn't available, even if he's temporarily off-site; and impose such strict confidentiality requirements that operators would be unable to report rape or prostitution to the police.
But why are Quinn and her colleagues so fretful?
Is New York City's 41 percent abortion rate not high enough for them?
Was the billboard's message so subversive that it had to be burned?
Along with the First Amendment?

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Free choice, free speech: Proposal to regulate anti-abortion counselors is a bad idea
Monday, October 18th 2010, 4:00 AM
It is never a good idea for lawmakers to draft legislation based solely on the urgings of advocates for one cause or another, and it is particularly dangerous when the measure in question could curtail First Amendment rights. That's what's happened with a bill sponsored by City Councilwoman Jessica Lappin and Speaker Christine Quinn. They should know better.

The National Abortion Rights Action League, a pro-choice lobbying group, has targeted 16 so-called crisis pregnancy centers in the city. These are establishments where abortion opponents present women with alternatives to ending pregnancies, such as adoption and single-parenting.

NARAL called eight centers and visited 10, posing as women who might be pregnant and inquiring about services. While finding that the centers "present themselves as hospitable places offering emotional support," NARAL asserted that they "engage in deceptive and manipulative practices," attempting to "coerce women considering abortion into carrying their pregnancies to term."

Without investigation or hearings, Lappin and Quinn - both pro-choice - drew up a bill to require centers to post notices stating that they do not provide abortions or contraception; disclose that no medical provider is available if none is on the premises, and commit to treating all information gathered from a client as confidential.

The implication: It is deceptive just to open up shop as an anti-abortion advocate, and an affront to present women with alternatives. As if women need to be shielded from this information.

What's more, NARAL's evidence shows no deception by the centers. None have "abortion" in their names; they have names such as Pregnancy Help and Pregnancy Resource Services.

More than half the websites say they are "pro-life" or do not recommend abortion. None of the centers gave researchers inaccurate information over the phone and, when asked, most said they don't perform abortions or provide referrals.

The report describes no harm sustained by any patient - and even contains potent disclaimers: "The findings contained herein are not exhaustive." "This report contains no insight into how CPCs would respond to a proven pregnancy."

All of which adds up to no basis for infringing on anyone's right to advance a cause, however disagreeable one finds it.

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Jan 28: Baltimore Pregnancy Center Law Ruled Unconstitutional!

27 wk. mom Gets Abortion Coercion at NYC-Planned Parenthood

Feb 21 Councilman Cabrera

Feb 21 Councilman Halloran

Feb 21 Alice

Feb 21 John

Feb 21 Sgt Major

Feb 21 Chris Slattery

Feb 21 Noemi

City Councilman Rev. Fernando Cabrera at 2/7/11 Rally

February 7 Sgt Major

February 7 Rev Kirk

February 7 Priest 2

February 7 Peggy

February 7 Dr John

February 7 Brendan - Fordham - Students For Life

February 7 Bishop Clark

February 7 Viviana

February 7 Song

February 7 Closing Prayer

Rev. Fr. Peter West at 2/7/11 Rally

Dr. Alveda King at 1/10/11 Rally

Bishop Roderick Ceasar on 1/10/11

Pasto Michel Faulkner on 1/10/11

Rev. Fr. Richard Gill on 1/10/11

Chaplain Vivianna Hernandez on 1/10/11

Pastor Catherine Davis on 1/10/11

Rev. Arnold Culbreath on 1/10/11

Rev. Walter Hoye on 1/10/11

Dr. La Verne Tolbert at 1/10/11 Rally

Pastor Clenard Childress at 1/10/11 Rally

Pastor Stephen Broden at 1/10/11 Rally

Council Member Daniel Halloran at 1/10/11 Rally

Chris Slattery at 1/10/11 Rally

Dr. Gerard Nadal at 1/10/11 Rally

Rev. Patrick Mahoney at 1/10/11 Rally

Chris Slattery