The American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania and a Pennsylvania state legislator are suing the state over a new law banning billboards advertising political messages, including those advocating abortion.
The ACLU is challenging the state’s new law, which took effect March 1, as violating the First Amendment and the Pennsylvania Constitution.
“The billboard ban is a direct attack on freedom of speech and on our right to free speech,” said Amy Goldstein, director of the ACLU’s Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project.
“We have never seen an effort by a state to impose a ban on billboards that is more restrictive than what is already required by law.”
The law bans all signs that depict any of the following: “Pro-life, pro-choice, pro-[abortion] rights.”
“Vote Republican or Democrat.”
“Prolife, anti-abortion, pro[-abortion] freedom.”
“Support the Republican Party.”
“The pro-life cause is the greatest threat to our country.”
“Republican, proabortion, antiabortion, freedom.”
Other signs are: “Vote against the president,” “vote for the president.”
“We want to make it very clear to voters in Pennsylvania that the pro-abortion cause is our greatest threat,” Goldstein said.
“It’s not about being pro- or anti-choice; it’s about being against abortion.”
The new law also prohibits political advertisements that “advance, advocate, promote, or otherwise encourage or facilitate” abortion.
“These signs are being erected on public property, in public parks, and on highways,” Goldstein told the AP.
“They’re not intended to convey political views.”
The ACLU filed a lawsuit in Harrisburg federal court on Wednesday against Pennsylvania Secretary of State Mike DeWine, Attorney General Jon Husted, and DeWines office.
The lawsuit was filed by the American Civil Rights Union of New York, the Pennsylvania Coalition for Reproductive Justice, the Pro-Choice Pennsylvania Action Fund, and the American Humanist Association.
The suit asks a judge to block the law, as it is not a “fair and reasonable” use of public property.
DeWiner did not immediately respond to a request for comment from National Review.