What would you do if you witnessed a person protest a professional’s work right outside the workplace? Laura Laursen receives this treatment on her way to work in southern Illinois. She mentally prepares because she knows people will hate on her job… performing abortions. Newsweek.com quotes her saying “I’ve gotten used to it by now… but if I were any other kind of physician, this kind of violence and harassment would not be apart of my daily job…”. There are multiple protesters outside the clinic. In response the town has created “buffer zones”. The zones create a “bubble” around the the clinic that the protesters must be outside of. Is this the American way?
The part of the first amendment that we are looking at reads “Congress shall make no law… prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble…”. The buffer zones should not be allowed according to the constitution. Buffer zones prohibits the protesters practice their right of expression. Some people argue that the protesters are harassing the doctor, and they should be given barriers due to that. However, harassing is illegal only if it is based on a person’s age, race, national origin, sex, religion, or disability. The law does not protect citizens from receiving hate for the person’s profession. The city must repeal the buffer zone, and Laura Laursen will be receiving harassment from protesters. It is the American way.
Does protesting an unpopular opinion violate the peaceable assembly clause of the First Amendment?
People in America have had the right to assemble since the constitution was put into place. These protest have made great change in our society. For example peaceable assemblies have gotten us women’s rights, African american rights and many others. The library of congress states, “The Supreme Court of the United States has held that the First Amendment protects the right to conduct a peaceful public assembly. The right to assemble is not, however, absolute. Government officials cannot simply prohibit a public assembly in their own discretion, but the government can impose restrictions on the time, place, and manner of peaceful assembly, provided that constitutional safeguards are met.”(1).
There are many cases of people protesting their own opinions near soldiers funeral locations. This act is completely covered by the First Amendment in the Constitution as long as the protests are staying peaceful. The fact of the matter is that these events are trying to show that there are other opinions out there. They are protesting at these specific events because, “the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the attendant casualties, are divine punishment for America’s acceptance of lesbian and gay rights.”(2). Just because this might be something you agree with or do not does not mean they cannot protest. There were people trying to make sure the protesters had rules they needed to follow such as, being 300 feet away from the cemetery or being prohibited to protest 2 hours before the funeral. Such rules are not allowed by the supreme court and could leave you liable to be sued.
Although protesting an unpopular opinion is not deemed wrong it may hurt and affect the lives of many. There protesters that are standing with signs are soldiers funerals were in no wrong but that does not mean they aren’t affecting these families. People are coming to lay their sons, daughters, fathers, mothers or whoever they loved and lost down to rest. This was someone fighting for our country, protecting the citizens of the U.S. I feel as if it is not appropriate. Although it is legal, it can deeply scar and hurt the memories of people severely.
- Winston, Andrew M. “Right to Peaceful Assembly: United States.” Library of Congress, 1 Oct. 2014, www.loc.gov/law/help/peaceful-assembly/us.php.
- “Even Vile Funeral Protests Are Free Speech.” CNN, 8 Aug. 2012, http://www.cnn.com/2012/08/08/opinion/rottman-aclu-funerals-free-speech/.
- Lusk, Ashlon. “Opinion: Super Bowl Fans Uncontrollable, Expose Importance of Peaceful Protest.” LSU Now, The Daily Reveille, 19 Feb. 2018, http://www.lsunow.com/daily/opinion-super-bowl-fans-uncontrollable-expose-importance-of-peaceful-protest/article_5ce4d732-120e-11e8-b71f-d78cf03d7892.html.