activism /

Anti-Abortion Activist Challenges Protest Restrictions Around Abortion Clinic as Unconstitutional

The law prohibits protestors from standing in close proximity to an abortion clinic

An abortion opponent is legally challenging a Colorado law that prohibits protests within 100 feet of healthcare facilities.

Wendy Faustin of Denver argues the 1993 “bubble law” violated her constitutional rights under the First and Fourteenth Amendments. The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court of Colorado, states the law impedes her ability to speak to people entering the clinic and impedes her ability to shout while demonstrating.

Faustin says she wants to counsel women against getting abortions which she believes “is a horrific moral wrong.” 

According to court documents, Faustin wants to “imminently and repeatedly speak with young women outside of the Healthy Futures clinic, the Mile High Women’s Clinic, and other abortion clinics in the Denver area, in the far more effective manner that is banned by those provisions: by approaching them within a normal conversational distance under eight feet, presenting them with written information about the nature of their unborn children, the procedure, and other available alternatives and resources, and attempting to engage them in a peaceful and compassionate conversation about these matters in an effort to persuade them to pursue an alternative to abortion.” 

Colorado Governor Jared Polis, Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser, District Attorney for the 18th Judicial District John Kellner, Denver District Attorney Beth McCann and Denver City Attorney Kerry Tipper are all named as defendants as well as the police chiefs of Denver and Englewood.

The 1993 law was upheld by the United States Supreme Court in 2000. At the time, the court found that the law did not restrict speech but rather the location of the expression of speech, per Fox News

Maine, Massachusetts, and Montana all enforce similar laws.

Faustin is being represented by the Christian nonprofit First Liberty Institute, which is based in Texas.

The government may not target life-affirming speech simply because it disagrees with the message. That is unlawful viewpoint discrimination,” said Rogder Byron, senior counsel for First Liberty, in a June 2 statement. “It should not be a crime to lovingly and compassionately approach another person to tell them about alternatives to abortion.”

“The First Amendment presumes it is unconstitutional for the government to restrict a private citizen’s expression because of ‘its message, its ideas, its subject matter, or its content.’ The laws imposed by Colorado and Denver favor one message over another. That’s unconstitutional,” added Charles Cooper of Cooper & Kirk, PLLC, the Colorado law firm assisting First Liberty.

First Liberty says that “the First Amendment becomes meaningless when the state disfavors and restricts the speech and viewpoints of Americans, including those whose actions and messages are informed by religious convictions.”

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