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Sending Rep. Pridemore a Message – Don’t Mess With our First Amendment Rights!

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Representative Don Pridemore has a 100% right-to-life voting record. That is very good.

Don Pridemore wants to draft legislation that would infringe on the ability of Wisconsin Right to Life and other citizen organizations to provide information to the public about the voting records and positions of candidates. That is very bad.

Pridemore believes that the information disseminated at election time by organizations, like Wisconsin Right to life, is a bother to politicians. It seems some politicians just don’t like it when organizations talk about their voting records and postions on issues. And to stop citizens organizations from getting in the way, Pridemore is considering legislation that would place restrictions on citizen organizations that would be so burdensome that the organizations would likely stop exercising their First Amendment right to freely discuss the positions and voting records of politicians.

Consider this. Unless the right-to-life movement had exposed the voting records of politicians on the issue of partial-birth abortion, how would citizens have ever received that information? Pro-partial-birth abortion politicians have never wanted this issue discussed back in their districts because a huge majority of the public strongly opposes the gruesome abortion procedure. When the right-to-life movement has informed the public which politicians voted to keep PBA legal, it made those politicians look pretty bad in the eyes of their constituents. But that wasn’t the fault of the right-to-life organizations. It was the politicians who voted to keep the procedure legal.

This is the same type of information Wisconsin Right to Life has consistently provided to the public. .. objective information that merely informs the public how politicians have voted on right-to-life issues. Issues like protecting women from being forced into having abortions, requiring parental consent prior to a minor’s abortion and other issues.

In order for Wisconsin Right to Life to continue to provide this information to the public, Pridemore wants to require us and other citizen organizations to hand over the personal information of our donors to the State, where it would be a matter of public record! That information would likely include each donor’s name, address and in certain circumstances, employment information.

Although Pridemore hasn’t specified yet what penalities he would impose if Wisconsin Right to Life refused to hand over the personal information of its donors to the State, other similar legislative proposals have included prison sentences and hefty fines.

Wisconsin Right to Life will NEVER provide the State with personal donor information. So, if Pridemore’s ideas were ever to become law, the organization would either have to stop exercising its First Amendment right to provide candidate informationto the public or face stiff penalities. Neither one is an acceptable option!

The only acceptable option is for Pridemore to cease and desist!

The fact is, the First Amendment grants every citizen the right to freely engage in political discussion at election time (or at any other time) with out any government intrusion.

It doesn’t make a bit of difference that this offensive, unconstitutional idea is coming from a legislator who has a right-to-life voting record. In this case, Pridemore’s ideas are an affront to our cherished First Amendment rights and to every Wisconsin citizen!


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