ACLU of Georgia

Press Release: Another ACLU of Georgia Legal Victory for Women’s Healthcare

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE June 14, 2021
Media contact: Ana Maria Rosato media@acluga.org

ATLANTA — Today, the Georgia Court of Appeals agreed with the ACLU of Georgia’s position that commercial landlords cannot file ‘nuisance’ lawsuits against abortion clinics simply because anti-abortion protestors have created a nuisance on the property.  In his decision, Judge Hodges wrote the following.

“McBrayer’s practice is likely to displease some in the community and attract protestors wherever it is located. If we were to hold that a legally-operated abortion clinic cannot even operate in a commercial office park zoned for medical practices without constituting a nuisance we would be, in effect, holding that such clinics cannot properly operate anywhere. As amicus curie correctly point out, such a holding could be used to expose a broad array of legal businesses and institutions to nuisance liability due to the fact that some find them controversial and some will protest their very existence.

“Both legal protestors and criminals have caused disruption around a multitude of business and institutions, such as gun shops, fur retailers, Chick-Fil-A restaurants, police departments, synagogues, statehouses, Black churches, adult entertainment establishments, and mosques, to name a few. Under the common law, property ownership in Georgia does not guarantee only ideologically-aligned neighbors whose business practices will cause no upset or attract no controversy, and we will not hold otherwise.”

“Today, the Georgia Court of Appeals agreed with the ACLU of Georgia that commercial landlords cannot file ‘nuisance’ lawsuits against abortion clinics simply because anti-abortion protestors have created a nuisance on the property,” said Sean J. Young, legal director of the ACLU of Georgia. “Otherwise, any lawful operation ranging from gun stores to Chick-Fil-A restaurants could be shut down because of protestors who disagree with their views. Rather than being a nuisance, the bustling marketplace of ideas is a feature of our pluralistic democracy.”

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