Abortion billboard a question of free speech, privacy or abuse?

Jun 9, 2011

In the middle of the quiet desert community of Alamogordo, New Mexico stands a blaring billboard. It shows a picture of the billboard creator Greg Fultz holding the outline of a newborn baby. The accompanying text reads: "This would have been a picture of my 2-month old baby if the mother had decided not to KILL our child!" Fultz alleges that his ex-girlfriend, Nani Lawrence, had an abortion — something she denies. Last week, Lawrence sought a protection order from her ex-boyfriend. The local court commissioner granted the order and recommended the billboard be taken down. The lawyer for Fultz, Todd Holmes, says as distasteful as the ad might be, his client is exercising his first amendment rights to speak out against abortion. Lawrence's attorney, Ellen Jessen, argues that Fultz's right to free speech ends where Lawrence's right to privacy begins. She also says it's harassing and stalking behavior. Where’s the line between free speech and privacy? Who owns the private information about a pregnancy — the woman, the man or both? Fultz says the billboard isn't just about him — it's about any man who might be in his position. Does that make it a topic of public concern and therefore a topic for free speech?

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