Monitor: All the News of the World: The American press considers the huge fine levied on an anti-abortion website

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The Independent Culture
THE WEBSITE is hateful and intimidating, no question about it. But the court's ruling may be intimidating, too. People with unpopular things to say might fear the repercussions. History should act as a solemn reminder to those who see this issue solely through the prism of safeguarding abortion rights. In the past, the same arguments in favor of restricting free speech were used to try to quell black civil rights. Maintaining perspective is hard, but necessary. Popular or inoffensive speech doesn't need protecting. Unpopular, despicable speech needs the full shield of the First Amendment.

St Louis Post Dispatch

THE JURY said that the website was "threatening" - that it might drive somebody to kill! And they said we can't have that - we can't have people who would actually want to harm somebody who kills the most helpless among us for a living. The fact is, Christians and other conscionable people who recognize abortion for the horror it is do not now, nor do they ever, advocate killing a human being for the sake of it and certainly not for a living.

USA Journal

THANKS TO a judge's instruction to the jury that the site should be considered threatening if construed as such by a "reasonable person", the jury found for the plaintiffs. The Supreme Court, however, previously ruled that to be considered a threat, speech must be likely to cause "imminent lawless action". By lowering the standard, it has been made much easier for courts to restrict speech they find offensive.

Delaware County Daily

WHERE LIES the distinction between forceful free speech and behavior that incites to violence? We have supported rights that many might regard as leading to annoying acts, such as the right of paparazzi to get their photographs. But the defendants went well beyond the reasonable. The decision should be seen not as a blueprint for stifling the free expression of ideas, but rather as a warning to those who would wrap threats in the cloth of the First Amendment.

Los Angeles Times

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