Free Speech Denied
Reverend Walter Hoye has spent the past several years offering sidewalk counseling to women considering abortion outside an abortion facility in Oakland, California. But according to a new Oakland City Law, Walter’s counseling is now considered harassment. The new law, called the Bubble Ordinance prohibits sidewalk counselors from getting within 8 feet of women entering abortion facilities, making it nearly impossible for the counselors to offer help. The law only applies to pro-life advocates.
As a result of the law, Walter was arrested on May 13 th, 2008 for holding a sign and offering literature to women entering the facility. After a 13-day trial, Walter was sentenced to spend 30 days in jail. Since being released, Walter and his attorney Mike Millen have been fighting the constitutionality of the Bubble Ordinance. They argue that the ordinance is a direct violation of free speech rights since it only targets one group and favors the demands of abortion facilities.