27-June-2014 -- ZENIT.org News Agency |

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Cardinal O'Malley 'Encouraged and Pleased' By Supreme Court Decision

Court Declares Law Barring Pro-Life Advocates From Areas Near Abortion Facilities Unconstitutional

WASHINGTON, D.C., June 27, 2014 (Zenit.org) - Cardinal Sean O'Malley has welcomed a Supreme Court decision that declared unconstitutional a state law barring pro-life advocates from public sidewalks near abortion facilities.

In a statement, the Archbishop of Boston, who is chairman of the U.S. bishops' Committee on Pro-Life Activities, said he was "encouraged and pleased" by the June 26th decision in the case of McCullen v. Coakley. The Court unanimously declared the Massachusetts law unconstitutional.

But the cardinal said the overturned law "reflects and ominous trend" in American society to take away the right to freedom of speech and freedom of association for those who wish to protect the right to life of the most vulnerable who have no voice.

Here below is the full text of his statement.

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"Today the Supreme Court found unconstitutional a Massachusetts law imposing criminal penalties on pro-life Americans who peacefully pray for and offer alternatives to pregnant women approaching abortion clinics. This discriminatory law barred these citizens from gathering on nearby public sidewalks, while exempting 'clinic escorts' trained to expedite women into the facility. Clearly this was an attack on pro-life Americans' freedom of speech, and we welcome the Court's decision to overturn the law.

"This now overturned legislation reflects an ominous trend in our society. Abortion supporters, having long denied that unborn children have a right to life, would deny that their fellow Americans who seek to protect the unborn have the same rights as other Americans - the right to freedom of speech and freedom of association; the right to participate in the public square and serve the vulnerable in accord with our moral convictions. Increasingly we see this trend evidenced at various levels of government. We are encouraged and pleased to know that with regard to this particular issue, our highest court has affirmed the American tradition of basic constitutional rights for all."

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The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops had joined with other religious groups in a "friend of the court" brief urging this result. The brief can be found online:

www.usccb.org/about/general-counsel/amicus-briefs/upload/cls-amicus-brief-filed.pdf

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