Late-Term Abortion Protester Wins First Amendment Case

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Tom Ciesielka

Bill of Rights

AP Images/ Mel Evans

City of Chicago on Wednesday dismissed its case against Andrew Scholberg, who was
arrested while standing outside Family Planning Associates, a late-term
abortion facility on the north side of Chicago, for allegedly blocking
access to the clinic and violating Chicago’s controversial “mini-FACE”
ordinance, a local version of the federal Freedom of Access to Clinic
Entrances Act. The complaining witness from the clinic and
arresting officer did not appear in court.

“We are pleased that the City of Chicago has dismissed these false
charges against a man who was properly and legally exercising his First
Amendment rights on the public way,” says Peter Breen, executive
director and legal counsel at the Thomas More Society. “He did nothing
wrong, and was peaceful. The police commander has to stop these baseless
arrests and the filing of frivolous charges.”

The City of Chicago adopted both “Bubble Zone” and “mini-FACE”
ordinances in late 2009. The “mini-FACE” ordinance mimics the language
of the federal FACE statute, and a guilty verdict under the City’s
“mini-FACE” ordinance could give rise to a federal civil action for
fines of $10,000 and permanent injunctions against pro-life activity
outside a particular abortion facility.

Chicago’s “Bubble Zone”
ordinance prohibits someone from approaching a person within eight feet
of a local abortion clinic, and does not allow the presentation of a
leaflet, sign or oral message within that space. The Thomas More Society
has already won three other similar “Bubble Zone” cases in the past
year and a half.

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