SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH – Attorney General Sean D. Reyes joined a Petition for Writ of Certiorari to the U.S. Supreme Court in Vitagliano v Westchester asking the Justices to hear arguments in a matter concerning free-speech buffer zones around abortion facilities. The Petition was led by the State of Kentucky.
The challenge is being brought by a 64-year-old Catholic mother, Debra Vitagliano, who lives in Westchester County, New York. Vitagliano desires to utilize her training as a sidewalk counselor outside of abortion facilities, but she is legally prohibited from doing so by the recently passed Reproductive Health Care Facilities Access Act (2022). The law mirrors Supreme Court precedent in Hill v Colorado (2000), which gives local governments immense latitude in concocting schemes to regulate free speech outside of abortion facilities if the content is not deemed appropriate or lawful.
In their Petition, the States argue that “Hill is an aberration and should be overruled” and that “[c]ontinued reliance on Hill curtails free-speech rights.”
According to the coalition of attorneys general, “[T]here is no abortion exception to the First Amendment. Sidewalk counseling is not second-class speech, and government restrictions on it must meet the same standards as every other content-based restriction.”
Joining Utah and Kentucky on the Petition were the States of Alabama, Arkansas, Idaho, Iowa, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and West Virginia.