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Better Late Than Never

Tempe, Arizona — March 12, 2019.  Today, the Center for Religious Expression (CRE) resolved a lawsuit against the City of Tempe, receiving assurance that Tempe police would respect the constitutional right of CRE client Sherry Pierce to convey her life-affirming message on public sidewalks near an abortion clinic in Tempe, Arizona.

Pierce wants to share a message of hope and life to women considering abortion, offering alternatives meeting the practical needs of women facing a crisis pregnancy.  Attempting to insulate women from this message, Planned Parenthood strategically selected the location for its clinic to be hundreds of feet away from the public sidewalk.  As a result, Pierce uses an amplifier or cheer cone so she can be heard while still speaking in a compassionate tone.

But, on December 13, 2017, Tempe police banned her from doing so, warning her that she could not use an amplifier at all because someone had complained about someone else’s use of an amplifier.  CRE sought to resolve the matter through a letter to the City, pointing out the unconstitutionality of banning speech based on subjective complaints, but Tempe affirmed its position.  Pierce was left with no option but to file suit.

Faced with the reality of a trial, Tempe finally provided assurance that its police would properly enforce noise laws by objectively and independently assessing actual volume, resolving the conflict.

“Tempe finally made the right call, agreeing to protect free speech rather than squelch it,” said CRE Chief Counsel Nate Kellum.  “Mrs. Pierce is now free to speak up for the unborn in Tempe.  Better late than never.”

Center for Religious Expression is a servant-oriented, non-profit 501(c)(3) Christian legal organization dedicated to the glory of God and the religious freedom of His people. For more information, visit http://www.crelaw.org.

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