Philadelphia, PA, 10:38am EST: While innocently working in her office and listening to Morning Edition on NPR, blogger Cecily Kellogg of Uppercase Woman heard this report from Nina Totenberg regarding yesterday’s Supreme Court ruling on McCullen vs. Coakley, also known as the abortion clinic “buffer zone” case in which anti-choice protestors claim clinic “buffer zones” violate their free speech.
In discussing the ruling, Ms. Totenberg mentioned that Justice Roberts referred to clinic protestors as “counselors,” and Ms. Kellogg’s head immediately spontaneously exploded. She spent some time then scraping the brain matter off the wall and reassembling her head and then turned to the actual court ruling to verify that such a clearly ridiculous statement could actually be true, even though Ms. Kellogg has deep and abiding respect for Ms. Totenberg’s reporting. “I just couldn’t believe it could be true,” She said. “I had to read the decision to see for myself.” Unfortunately, Ms. Totenberg’s reporting was – as usual – accurate. In the original decision, the Operation Rescue clinic protestors are described as “counselors” six times, by both Justice Scalia and Justice Roberts. For example (Eleanor McCullen is the plaintiff and a member of Operation Rescue):
“Are we to believe that a clinic employee sent out to “escort” prospective clients into the building would not seek to prevent a counselor like Eleanor McCullen from communicating with them? He could pull a woman away from an approaching counselor, cover her ears, or make loud noises to drown out the counselor’s pleas.”
“A woman enters a buffer zone and heads haltingly toward the entrance. A sidewalk counselor, such as petitioners, enters the buffer zone, approaches the woman and says, “If you have doubts about an abortion, let me try to answer any questions you may have. The clinic will not give you good information. At the same time, a clinic employee, as instructed by the management, approaches the same woman and says, “Come inside and we will give you honest answers to all your questions.” The sidewalk counselor and the clinic employee expressed opposing viewpoints, but only the first violated the statute.”
“I just can’t believe it,” Ms. Kellogg stated. “I’ve engaged with these protestors before, and in my personal experience, they weren’t offering any counseling. They were merely yelling and shaming those that entered the clinic, rather than offering any of the quiet support you general receive from someone counseling you. Some, in fact, actually physically assaulted the women attempting to pass by.” Ms. Kellogg begins to quietly sob. She adds, “While I understand the free speech elements of the case, how could they refer to the protestors as counselors?”
When pressed, Ms. Kellogg began babbling incoherently and then stood up and began throwing things around the room while gesticulating wildly and stomping her feet.
Additional questioning will be attempted once Ms. Kellogg returns to her normal calm demeanor.