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Pro-life Counselors Request SCOTUS Review


WASHINGTON, D.C. – Two pro-life sidewalk counselors have requested the U.S. Supreme Court to hear their case, Reilly v. City of Harrisburg, in which they have challenged the city’s unconstitutional “buffer zones” around abortion centers. Today, Liberty Counsel filed its Reply Brief requesting the Court to take the case for review.

Liberty Counsel represents Becky Biter and Colleen Reilly, who are asking the High Court to reverse the Third Circuit Court of Appeals denial of a preliminary injunction against the city of Harrisburg’s “buffer zone” ordinance, which prohibits pro-life speech on 70 feet of public sidewalk outside a Planned Parenthood abortion center. Biter and Reilly have regularly engaged in peaceful sidewalk counseling to encourage women to protect the life of their unborn babies. 

Liberty Counsel has presented evidence that the ordinance, which was drafted by Planned Parenthood and passed without any debate or serious discussion, is a gross intrusion into Biter and Reilly’s constitutional rights. Prior to enacting this ordinance that specifically targets pro-life speech, the city tried nothing else to alleviate the problems it alleges exist outside of abortion facilities. That fact alone demonstrates that its ordinance is a solution in search of a problem that does not exist, because existing laws could have been used to deal with its claimed harms. Moreover, the lower court ignored the fact that the city enforced the ordinance to apply to one-on-one conversations, meaning the police officers apply the law only to pro-life speech.

Liberty Counsel Founder and Chairman Mat Staver said, “The city of Harrisburg has a constitutional mandate to protect the free speech rights of all people in its jurisdiction, and it has no authority to discriminate on the basis of pro-life viewpoints. Public sidewalks and parks have always been protected as places where people can gather to participate in the marketplace of ideas. The court of appeals ignored binding Supreme Court precedent.” 

SOURCE Liberty Counsel

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