Defaced billboard an example of free speech denied
Registerguard.com: When driving around Eugene (Oregon), one sees bumper stickers that read “Coexist,” “Honor diversity,” “Peace,” etc. However, tolerance in the city appears to be one-sided — expected, but not always given.
Recently a billboard expressing a sincere message was vandalized by some people who did not like the point of view it expressed. Not only was an expression of free speech defaced, but the property of innocent bystanders was damaged.
“Abortion: A lifetime of regret. Visit Standupgirl.com,” read the message on the billboard at the corner of Villard Street and Franklin Boulevard in Eugene. Unfortunately, after being up for 10 days, the billboard was taken down. The message apparently was not welcome by many who preach tolerance, trumpet free speech and call themselves “pro-choice.”
Bottles filled with house paint were thrown at the billboard, destroying the sign and splashing paint on cars parked in the Euro-Asian Automotive parking lot. The business owner, upset over damage and vandalism done to the cars, called the sign company. The fine print in the contracts was read, and the billboard was removed and permanently banned.
While abortion is a controversial subject, helping women in an unplanned pregnancy certainly should not be. StandUpGirl.com, a website that welcomes more than 200,000 young women each month, is not political. Rather, it is hosted by dedicated volunteers from around the world who spend endless hours answering letters from young women in unplanned pregnancies, helping them find the answers they need for their individual situations.
Young women who have had or considered an abortion also discuss their experiences at StandUpGirl.com. More than 21 million girls and women have visited the website, many writing to the site to tell their stories. Women facing an unplanned pregnancy are often frightened and want to read the experiences of those who have faced the same circumstances they do. Women find camaraderie with other women in similar life situations through the forums and blogs.
Most women who have chosen abortion and write StandUpGirl.com voice the sentiment expressed on the banned billboard: Their abortion “choice” is the regret of their lifetime. They write of their emotional turmoil and their feelings of regret, grief and depression. Often they write to warn other girls not to make the same “choice” they did. On the other hand, women who had considered abortion but decided instead in favor of life, voice gratitude that they chose to deliver their babies.
StandUpGirl.com exists to offer hope and encouragement to every girl who comes, no matter what their circumstances. The website spans the great divide between pro-life and pro-choice and opens the doors for the girls to learn how abortion can affect their lives.
The billboard’s message, “Abortion: A lifetime of regret. Visit StandUpGirl.com,” approved by the billboard company, offered a message to whoever wanted to consider it. Billboards across the nation offer information on wide range of subjects; readers are free to agree with the message, disagree, or ignore it.
Our great U.S. Constitution and the First Amendment guarantee us the freedom of expression. But there is no guarantee that we will embrace one another’s thoughts or opinions. What the authors of our Constitution were striving for is a tolerance for other’s ideas. The term “pro-choice” clearly implies that there is room for more than one choice, plus information to make an intelligent choice.
Unfortunately, because some have refused to embrace tolerance, freedom of choice and free speech, Eugene residents have witnessed an example of the eroding of the common courtesies and values that as Americans we all hold dear.
Author: Dawn Marie Perez who is director of the StandUpGirl Foundation in Keizer.
I’m not surprised this happened in Eugene, a liberal-infested pool. They just prove how hypocritical they are in their actions. Is anyone surprised?