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Buffer zone gives Planned Parenthood control of public property

Buffer zone gives Planned Parenthood control of public property

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A recent letter from Chris Hammaker was as good an argument for maintaining the First Amendment as anyone could ever hope for ("Exactly why anti-zealot buffer zone is needed," April 18).

Hammaker writes in response to Marcia Ryan, who presented the viewpoint of the pro-life sidewalk counselor. Hammaker not only supports a “buffer zone,” giving Planned Parenthood control over public property, He wants to “increase” the buffer zone.

As with a lot of things Hammaker says, it’s unclear what he means here. Does he mean that the buffer zone should cover even more space? Or does he mean that even more stringent regulations should be enforced at Planned Parenthood’s behest?

Maybe he means both. If a background check and a heartfelt pledge to the Unchallenged Status of Abortion were required before pesky citizens could come within three miles of Planned Parenthood’s “health center,” those proud purveyors of intrauterine homicide might feel even safer from opposing opinions. What do you say, Chris?

Hammaker appears to think that First Amendment protections only apply to those with advanced degrees. A cursory inspection of the Bill of Rights does not support this contention.

In a snarky aside, Hammaker denies that there is any scientific information behind Ryan’s viewpoint. Once again, it is unclear here what Hammaker may mean —probably because he himself doesn’t know. He may be assailing the “belief” that the individual human life begins at conception — or, in medical terms, at fertilization.

Uh, Chris, please consult one of the standard texts on human embryology or on developmental biology. I recommend “The Developing Human,” 9th Edition, by Keith L. Moore et al., and “Developmental Biology,” by Scott Gilbert, et al. If you’re cheap and prefer not to trouble your little head over those thick medical and scientific tomes, you can find similar information at Khan Academy.

It is a long-established scientific fact, not a “harebrained belief,” that all organisms which reproduce sexually commence their individual lives at fertilization. And the Earth is round, Chris. The Earth is round.

What pro-life protesters and sidewalk counselors do is no different in constitutional terms from what union members typically do on strike. They hold signs and distribute literature. Strikers are not allowed to picket on their target’s property, but they are allowed to do so on public property. Only Planned Parenthood demands — and gets — ownership rights over the public sidewalk.

This issue really is that simple.

I note without enthusiasm that Hammaker is a member of the Register’s editorial board. This membership tends to suggest that he represents the paper’s views on First Amendment issues. The Founders would shudder at the thought.

Tom Riley


Editor's note: Hammaker's opinions are his own, not of the Register or the editorial board. The Register has taken no position on the buffer zone around Planned Parenthood.

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