Blog Posts: Public Health

Abortion Ambiguities Remain Post-FACE Act

When people think about the abortion debate, they think  Roe v. Wade . However, the Supreme Court’s decision in  Roe  was only the beginning of legislation and controversy surrounding abortion rights. The  Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act , signed into law by President Clinton in 1994, has sparked years of debate and discussion surrounding the First Amendment  right to peaceably assemble  and protest at—or near—abortion clinics. Namely, some argue that the language of the FACE Act is vague, ambiguous, and infringes upon First Amendment rights. The FACE Act’s failure to define the scope of certain concepts such as “threat,” “intimidation,” and “harassment” makes it difficult to determine what form of language or conduct falls within the right to peaceably assemble.  Through examining the current law, remaining ambiguities within that law, as well as pending legislation, this blog post argues that clarity issues stemming from the FACE Act still exist today. These ambiguities should be resolved by crystallizing the language used in legislation surrounding protests at or near abortion clinics, and by specifying what constitutes “peaceful assembly” under the First Amendment.
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No Comments | Posted by Elizabeth C. Nye on Wed. April 6, 2016 11:33 AM
Categories: Freedom of Association, Freedom of Speech, Public Health

The First Amendment Threat to Public Health

The District II Wisconsin Court of Appeals did not agree with the circuit court’s ruling that Wisconsin Statute §940.32 was a facially overbroad regulation of protected speech in violation of Gary Hemmingway’s First Amendment rights. As reported by the Wisconsin State Bar, Hemmingway was found guilty of stalking his ex-wife, Rebecca, after sending her intimidating text messages, phone calls, and e-mails. Excerpts of the communications between Hemmingway and Rebecca include him telling her “that he would love to see someone holding a gun to her and for her to be begging for her life.” He also told her that “the only way she could feel his pain would be if both her sons died at the same time.” These and other threats, coupled with Hemmingway’s prior charges of aggravated battery and negligent use of a dangerous weapon, caused Rebecca to fear for her and her sons’ lives and suffer serious emotional harm.

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No Comments | Posted by Alexandria N. Bryant on Sun. February 10, 2013 8:27 AM
Categories: Public Health

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