Ex-Boyfriend's Abortion Billboard Ordered Down
In a really bizarre case, a New Mexico man has been ordered to remove an anti-abortion billboard that insinuates that his ex-girlfriend had undergone the procedure.
Though part of a protective order his ex-girlfriend sought on the grounds of harassment and violation of privacy, Greg Fultz vows to fight the decision, claiming that the judge's ruling violates his First Amendment rights.
Erected in the middle of Alamogordo, New Mexico, the abortion billboard pictures Greg Fultz holding an outline of a baby and reads, "This Would Have Been A Picture Of My 2-month Old Baby If The Mother Had Decided to Not KILL Our Child!"
It appears as though the decision to order the removal of the abortion billboard is a temporary fix while the judge takes the time to hear full arguments on the First Amendment issues. However, the judge's decision is unlikely to change.
Free speech is not an unfettered right, granting protection to everything anyone wants to say. It is often limited by other people's rights, such as to be free from harassment and invasions of privacy.
In particular, publically insinuating or disclosing that a woman had a controversial procedure can run afoul of privacy laws that protect against the public disclosure of private facts and painting a person in a false light.
These laws merely require that an individual disclose either misleading or truthful private information that an ordinary person would find offensive if made public.
They have also been consistently upheld as a permissible burden on free speech, particularly when involving a private person.
In other words, Greg Fultz has little chance of saving his abortion billboard from the trash.
- Judge Orders Abortion Billboard Removed, Man Refuses (ABC News)
- Invasion of Privacy (FindLaw)
- Anti-Abortion Billboards Claim "Black Children Are An Endangered Species": A Meaningful Contention? (FindLaw's Writ)
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