Free speech group launches six-figure billboard campaign: ‘Speech about abortion is free speech’

August 15, 2022

SOUTH CAROLINA, Aug. 15, 2022 — Today, the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression kicked off a six-figure billboard campaign in South Carolina calling attention to legislative proposals that would criminalize discussion about abortion online—even across state lines. The billboards will go up in Charleston, Columbia, Greenville, and Myrtle Beach. The billboards remind South Carolinians that free speech is enshrined in the First Amendment and protects discussion of topics that one might find objectionable.

Certain legislative proposals would make it a felony to “knowingly or intentionally aid, abet, or conspire” with another person to obtain an abortion. This could even include sharing information about how to obtain a legal abortion out of state, and maintaining a website that provides information on abortion access. Proposed language is also troublingly vague, as it covers any speech that is “purposefully directed” at South Carolinians.

“These proposals are a chilling attempt to stifle free speech in South Carolina,” said FIRE Legal Director Will Creeley. “Whether you agree with abortion or not is irrelevant. You have the right to talk about it.”

FIRE has a long history of defending the free speech rights of all Americans regardless of their viewpoint on abortion, or any other issue. FIRE recently won a victory for pro-life students at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill when the student government backed down from an effort to cut off sources of funding for pro-life student groups on campus.

The Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE) is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to defending and sustaining the individual rights of all Americans to free speech and free thought—the most essential qualities of liberty. FIRE educates Americans about the importance of these inalienable rights, promotes a culture of respect for these rights, and provides the means to preserve them.

CONTACT:

Katie Kortepeter, Media Relations Manager, FIRE: 215-717-3473; media@thefire.org