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Face-to-Face with the First Amendment: Schenck v. Pro-Choice Network and the Right to "Approach and Offer" in Abortion Clinic Protests

Darrin Alan Hostetler
Stanford Law Review
Vol. 50, No. 1 (Nov., 1997), pp. 179-223
Published by: Stanford Law Review
DOI: 10.2307/1229361
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1229361
Page Count: 45
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Face-to-Face with the First Amendment: Schenck v. Pro-Choice Network and the Right to "Approach and Offer" in Abortion Clinic Protests
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Abstract

In this note, Darrin Hostetler examines the Supreme Court's method of resolving conflicts between the First Amendment rights of protesters outside abortion clinics and the rights of women seeking abortions. Hostetler argues that, in fashioning a reasonable compromise between these two opposing camps, the Court has inadvertently trampled on a fundamental First Amendment value that figures prominently in free speech jurisprudence: the right of an individual to personally "approach and offer" a message or idea to another person through face-to-face contact. By devaluing the right to approach and offer, the Court has effectively overruled a number of time-honored First Amendment cases premised on that right. He concludes that the Court should return to a more traditional method of balancing speech rights against other constitutional interests, as illustrated by cases involving the religious group Jehovah's Witnesses. Doing so would safeguard speech rights and restore doctrinal integrity while simultaneously protecting a woman's legal options.

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