A New Mexico man's decision to lash out with a billboard ad saying his ex-girlfriend had an abortion against his wishes has touched off a legal debate over free speech and privacy rights.
The sign on Alamogordo's main thoroughfare shows 35-year-old Greg Fultz holding the outline of an infant. The text reads, "This Would Have Been A Picture Of My 2-Month Old Baby If The Mother Had Decided To Not KILL Our Child!"
Fultz's ex-girlfriend has taken him to court for harassment and violation of privacy. A domestic court official has recommended the billboard be removed.
But Fultz's attorney argues the order violates his client's free speech rights.
I'm no Constitutional scholar, but based on the contents of the article I think this guy will probably win on the freedom of speech angle. The mother's name is not mentioned in the billboard or the article, nor is there a picture of her on the billboard. My thought is that because there is no identifying information, only speculation ties his ex-girlfriend to being the "mother." In that case, there would be no invasion of privacy, nor would it be harassment. I could see this guy winning the case on the basis of freedom of speech, but being open to a civil lawsuit afterward.
I do think it is a pretty scumbag move if his intent was, in fact, to be malicious toward his ex-partner (which I think probably was his intent) rather than to promote awareness of abortion or his stance on abortion. It is typical of advertisements on controversial issues to go for a high impact message, regardless of which side of the issue one supports. A billboard showing a pregnant woman with a large shadow looming behind her with the words "A man killed my husband and children and raped me, now the state of South Dakota says that I have to keep and raise this thing." would be just as distasteful and just as high impact. It would also be protected by the freedom of speech and, if the woman had indeed been raped at some point, similar in circumstance to the case in the article above.
Which is it, free speech or invasion of privacy?
*edited to correct grammar in the first paragraph