Group to display ‘graphic pictures of aborted children’ in Wake Forest, town says

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WAKE FOREST, N.C. (WNCN) — Wake Forest officials said Tuesday a group would display “graphic pictures of aborted children” in areas of the town starting Wednesday.

The group, Center for Bio-Ethical Reform, will display the photos from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Friday, according to a news release from Wake Forest officials.

“We understand that (the) images may elicit an emotional response from some in our community,” the news release said.

The photos will be displayed on a box truck driven along Wake Forest streets by the group’s employees, the news release said.

Also, about 20 volunteers will hold signs while standing on sidewalks and “public spaces” near Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, according to the news release.

The streets include West North Avenue, West South Avenue, North Wingate Street and South Wingate Street, the news release said.

The news release from Wake Forest spokesman Bill Crabtree said the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform “is in no way related to” the seminary.

The news release from Wake Forest also explained how the display of the images is “protected by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.”

Here is the full news release from the town of Wake Forest:

Pro-life group to display graphic images in Wake Forest Oct. 23-25

WAKE FOREST, NC – The Center for Bio-Ethical Reform (CBR), a pro-life advocacy group, has notified the Town of Wake Forest that it will display graphic pictures of aborted children in areas around Wake Forest Wednesday-Friday, Oct. 23-25, from 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

According to a letter to the Town from CBR Southeast Operations Director C. Fletcher Armstrong, the group will display abortion photos in two ways: 1) on the sides and back of a box truck driven by CBR employees and volunteers along the streets of Wake Forest and 2) by approximately 20 volunteers standing and holding signs on the sidewalks and public spaces in the vicinity of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (SEBTS), including the following streets: West North Avenue, West South Avenue, North Wingate Street and South Wingate Street.

A non-profit, pro-life advocacy and education organization based in Orange County, California, CBR is in no way related to SEBTS.

The group’s right to present its message along public streets and sidewalks is protected by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

The U.S. Supreme Court recognizes that a public street is a public forum. Frisby v. Schultz, 487 U.S. 474, 480-81 (1988) recognized public streets as the “archetype of a traditional public forum” and noted that “all public streets are held in the public trust and are properly considered traditional public fora.” In Schneider v. New Jersey, 308 U.S. 147, 163 (1939), the Court also emphasized that “the streets are natural and proper places for the dissemination of information and opinions; and one is not to have the exercise of his liberty of expression in appropriate places abridged on the plea that it may be exercised in some other place.”

In addition, by providing sufficient notice of its intent to picket and confining its efforts to public streets and sidewalks, the CBR has ensured its compliance with the Town of Wake Forest Code of Ordinances. Sections 20-103 and 20-104 address picketing and picketing regulations. According to Sec. 20-104 (a), “Picketing may be conducted on public sidewalks, at Town Hall Centennial Plaza, at any town-owned park, or other town-owned areas normally used or reserved for pedestrian movement and shall not be conducted on the portion of the public roadways used primarily for vehicular traffic.”

Please note: The Town of Wake Forest is sharing information about CBR’s scheduled activities as part of its continued commitment to open and transparent government. We understand that CBR’s images may elicit an emotional response from some in our community. However, in an effort to be completely transparent and continue building trust with our residents, we are providing advance notice about what CBR has scheduled, along with an explanation of why their speech, though offensive to some, is protected under the Constitution.

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