Court Freezes NH Abortion Facility Censorship Zones

July 24, 2014 - 11:45 AM

A federal judge has put a halt to a New Hampshire law that establishes a 25-foot zone preventing free speech outside of abortion facilities.

Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) attorneys secured a court order Wednesday against the state law that allows for the creation of 25-foot censorship zones in which no person may speak, stand, or even enter on public ways and sidewalks outside of abortion facilities – unless they were considered “patient escort services.”

The order prohibits enforcement of the New Hampshire law until the court decides whether to issue an injunction against it.

According to ADF, The law explicitly exempts abortion facility escorts, allowing such individuals to engage in speech and expressive activities favorable to abortion – encouraging and compelling women to enter the abortion facilities and continue with the abortions – while prohibiting pro-life advocates from engaging in any expressive activity within the zones.

In June, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously struck down a similar law in McCullen v. Coakley.

“Americans have the freedom to talk to whomever they please on public sidewalks, as the Supreme Court recently affirmed,” said ADF Senior Legal Counsel Matt Bowman. “This order guarantees that the government can’t enforce the censorship zone law either before or after any such zones are drawn until the court rules on our argument that the law violates freedom of speech.”

Gov. Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.) signed the anti-speech zone bill into law on June 10th.

Violators of the law faced a minimum fine of $100 and possible further legal action.