Anti-Abortion Protests and Free Speech
This is a list of First Amendment cases involving anti-abortion protests and free speech.
Abortion has been one of the most volatile issues in the United States and at times, speech about it has implicated First Amendment freedoms.
In essence, there are two rights at stake: the privacy rights of patients and staff members at health care facilities and the rights of speech, assembly, and petition of pro-choice and anti-abortion protesters.
In McCullen v. Coakley (2014) the Court ruled that a state law prohibiting
individuals from standing in a buffer zone outside an abortion facility
violated the First Amendment.
Schenck v. Pro-Choice Network of Western New York (1997) upheld fixed
buffer zones around abortion clinics but said floating buffer zones violate
the First Amendment.
Hill v. Colorado (2000) said a state statute regulating protestors outside
of health facilities did not violate the First Amendment and was not
American Life League v. Reno (4th Cir. 1995) upheld the constitutionality
of the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act against a First Amendment
Bray v. Alexandria Women’s Health Clinic (1993) dealt with the First
Amendment right of protest and ruled that protesters’ actions were not a
conspiracy against a protected class.
Hirsh v. City of Atlanta (1990) said an injunction prohibiting an
anti-abortion group from demonstrating near abortion clinics did not
violate the First Amendment.
Madsen v. Women’s Health Center, Inc. (1994) addressed the conflict between
the First Amendment rights of antiabortion protestors and women’s
constitutional right to abortions.
Scheidler v. National Organization for Women (2006) said racketeering laws
could not be invoked to challenge antiabortion protests protected by the