A federal judge in Florida has ruled that a 20-foot buffer zone imposed by a lower court against pro-life abortion protesters violates their free speech rights as guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.
U.S. District Judge Donald Middlebrooks ruled April 11 that the buffer-zone ordinance, passed in October, is too restrictive. “Freedom of speech is rarely an issue when everyone agrees,” Middlebrooks stated in his written decision, as reported by the Associated Press. “Perhaps more than at any other place and any other time, in cases such as this, speech guaranteed by the First Amendment must be protected.”
Three women who frequently protest outside the Presidential Women’s Center abortuary challenged the ordinance in federal court. Their attorney, Michael DePrimo, emphasized that “The ordinance was designed to suppress the speech of pro-life demonstrations.”