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Charge against anti-abortion truck driver dropped


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Charge against anti-abortion truck driver dropped


The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Published on: 12/04/07

Authorities in Gwinnett County have dropped a misdemeanor criminal charge against an anti-abortion activist who was arrested for driving a truck emblazoned with images of aborted fetuses.

Gwinnett County Solicitor Rosanna Szabo said she "administratively dismissed" the disorderly conduct charge against Robert Dean Roethlisberger Jr.


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On the day after Thanksgiving, Roethlisberger drove a truck with banners displaying images of aborted fetuses, including a bloody and headless torso. Roethlisberger works for Operation Rescue, a national anti-abortion organization.

Roethlisberger, 44, of Belton, Mo., had been charged under a provision of Georgia law that makes it a crime to use "obscene and vulgar or profane language" in the presence of a person under age 14.

In making her decision to drop the charge, Szabo said, "I have reviewed the evidence and law in this case, and concluded that the physical display of the images in question as shocking and offensive as they are does not constitute 'obscene and vulgar or profane language' as specifically prohibited by this statute."

Roethlisberger was driving a "Truth Truck" for Operation Rescue that contained three banners. The images they contained caused a stir near the Mall of Georgia in Buford on the day after Thanksgiving.

Two 14-feet-long banners affixed to the truck showed a headless and bloody fetus and the partially crushed head of a fetus being held in forceps.

Roethlisberger refused an officer's request to remove the banners or replace them with something more subdued that communicated the organization's anti-abortion message, said Cpl. Illana Spellman, spokeswoman for the Gwinnett County Police Department.

Troy Newman, president of Operation Rescue, said Tuesday that his organization plans to sue the county.

"This is just begun," Newman said. "We have an issue here where in the light of day, police will drop charges and say they suspended all arrests in this issue. But if you're found at night or seemingly acting alone, it's open season on constitutional freedoms."


I saw this truck and it was disgusting, but right to free speech and all. I knew they would get this case dropped. I bet they try it again. ;)

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"Glad the charges were dropped.

Because had they not, it would have been obscene to show the fetus, but not to kill it."

Maybe I'm misunderstanding you, but i don't think that is the case.  It's obscene to show a gaping ****** in public, but you can play with it all you want in private.  Just like in this case, the images are disturbing and something people shouldn't be allowed to go around displaying on banners in public.  Doesn't mean abortion would automatically become illegal.

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