Press Releases

Colorado Law Blocking Pro-Life Advocacy Challenged

June 1, 2023

News Release
For Immediate Release: 6.1.23
Contact: Peyton Luke,
Direct: 972-941-4453 

Colorado Law Blocking Pro-Life Advocacy Challenged

Lawsuit claims severe, content-based restrictions imposed on speech that may occur outside of abortion clinics are unconstitutional.

Denver, CO—Today, First Liberty Institute and the law firm Cooper & Kirk, PLLC, filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of Wendy Faustin, a pro-life advocate and sidewalk counselor, in the United States District Court of Colorado, claiming that state and local restrictions on engaging in speech outside of abortion centers violates the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

A copy of the complaint can be found here.

“The government may not target life-affirming speech simply because it disagrees with the message.  That is unlawful viewpoint discrimination,” said Roger Byron, Senior Counsel for First Liberty Institute.  “It should not be a crime to lovingly and compassionately approach another person to tell them about alternatives to abortion.”

Charles Cooper, Chairman and Founding Partner at Cooper & Kirk, added, “The First Amendment presumes it is unconstitutional for the government to restrict a private citizen’s expression because of ‘its message, its ideas, its subject matter, or its content.’  The laws imposed by Colorado and Denver favor one message over another.  That’s unconstitutional.”

Wendy Faustin believes that life begins at conception, that all human life has God-given worth and dignity, and that ending the life of the unborn is morally wrong.  She feels compelled by these beliefs to advocate publicly on behalf of the unborn and provide loving help and counsel to women considering abortion.  State law and a local ordinance prohibit “knowingly approach[ing] another person within eight feet” on streets or sidewalks within a 100 foot radius of the entrance to a “health-care facility” – i.e., an abortion center – “for the purpose of passing a leaflet or handbill to. . . or engaging in oral protest, education, or counseling with such other person.”  The Supreme Court upheld the Colorado law in 2000 in Hill v. Colorado.

According to the complaint, “Plaintiff acknowledges that the result she seeks is contrary to currently governing precedent as set forth by the majority opinion in Hill. But for the reasons explained by the dissents in that case and in later Supreme Court precedent, that case was wrongly decided, is irreconcilable with intervening precedent, and has severely ‘distorted First Amendment doctrines.’ Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Org., 142 S. Ct. 2228, 2276 & n.65 (2022). See Reed v. Town of Gilbert, 576 U.S. 155 (2015); McCullen v. Coakley, 573 U.S. 464 (2014).  She therefore institutes this litigation to vindicate her First Amendment rights and to seek to have Hill overruled.”


About First Liberty Institute

First Liberty Institute is a non-profit public interest law firm and the largest legal organization in the nation dedicated exclusively to defending religious freedom for all Americans.

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