Despite Pro-Abortion Buffer Laws, Survey Shows Nearly Two-Thirds of Americans Want Sidewalk Counseling Protected  

Caroline Wharton - 18 Jan 2024

A new poll is showing that the majority of Americans want free speech to be fashionable again, especially when it comes to the life issue. In an age where pro-life activists are continually discriminated against, particularly in their sidewalk counseling advocacy as First Amendment rights are not equally respected, such data is especially interesting. Here’s what you need to know and why this matters for the Pro-Life Generation:  

According to the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty’s 2023 Index Findings survey, when asked whether a local government should be able to ban individuals from approaching women outside of abortion facilities, more than 60% of participants believed such conversations — about the reality of abortion and life-affirming alternatives — should be allowed.  

And there was pretty bipartisan agreement over this, as well; 51% of Democrats, 68% of Republicans, and 66% of Independents supported the right of an individual to speak to women outside of an abortion facility.  

Becket explained in their summary of the survey that this question had been inspired by the case Vitagliano v. County of Westchester, in which Students for Life of America (SFLA) had filed an amicus curiae (friend of the court) brief with the United States Supreme Court. While our nation’s highest Court did unfortunately deny the petition for certiorari on December 11, 2023, this case remains an important example of the discrimination that pro-lifers face.  

SFLA President Kristan Hawkins stated, “Everyone should be held to the same standards when peacefully sharing views in public, whether handing out flyers to advertise a restaurant or telling a young mother about free resources. The anti-baby bias of government should not lead to viewpoint discrimination, even among those who disagree on abortion.”  

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Hawkins continued, “…Sidewalk engagement is one of the primary ways our student activists change hearts and minds in order to save preborn children and support vulnerable mothers across the country. It is unconstitutional to penalize people doing the same thing in front of an abortion vendor operation. Why should wearing a hot dog costume to hawk a restaurant be treated differently than a pro-life volunteer offering mothers free resources. Both are peacefully speaking in public. Only one is talking about how to save one life and help another.”   

As many Americans clearly agree with Hawkins, we can only hope for better free speech times ahead and encourage constituents to demand more of their elected officials. The preservation of the First Amendment is crucial for a country that prides itself on the ideal of freedom, and it’s also crucial for pro-life work to continue. The preborn have no voice — who will be their mouthpiece if the Pro-Life Generation’s is stripped away, as well?  

READ NEXT: A Different Kind of “Miracle of Life:” How a Preborn Baby Helped Her Mother Survive a Life-Threatening Condition   

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