Last month, a Michigan abortionist published a statement that abortion clinics are "one incineration company away from being closed."
Immediately, the pro-life group Created Equal launched #ProjectWeakLink, a public information campaign aimed at targeting Planned Parenthood's largest waste disposal contractor, Stericycle. The S&P listed Fortune 500 company and its CEO, Charles Alutto, were then subjected to a public shaming campaign for enabling Planned Parenthood's killing of the unborn.
Just two days later, Created Equal was notified by Stericycle's attorneys that the company was seeking a temporary restraining order in the 19th Judicial Circuit Court in Lake County, Illinois, to stop the campaign. The Thomas More Society then stepped in to defend the group in court.
"No business has the right to be 'free from public criticism of its practices.' Companies have a responsibility to be accountable to the public," Thomas More Society Special Counsel Peter Breen said. "When businesses like Stericycle engage in practices to which the public objects, citizens have a right to express displeasure, deliver bad reviews and ask others to speak out against the business as well. Abortion industry partners like Stericycle are not exempt."
The "David vs. Goliath" courtroom match-up teamed the small advocacy group and the Chicago-based pro-bono attorneys of the Thomas More Society against Stericycle's legal team headed by former United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, Scott Lassar. Breen argued for Created Equal, attacking on First Amendment free speech grounds and against the claims by Stericycle's CEO that he was a victim of "false accusations."
Judge Margaret Marcouiller heard the arguments, and rejected the request for the temporary restraining order, but gave Stericycle's attorneys two weeks to amend their original complaint. Read her decision here. Created Equal may now resume its awareness campaign against Stericycle's practices, while Thomas More Society attorneys seek to have the case against the group dismissed entirely.
"We will not be bullied into silence," Created Equal National Director Mark Harrington said after the injunction was denied. "This lawsuit confirms that Stericycle is more interested in doing the dirty work for Planned Parenthood than protecting their image as a respectable waste disposal company.
"Further public exposure of their sloppy and unethical business practices in a lawsuit is far more damaging to Stericycle's image than ceasing to dispose of aborted babies for Planned Parenthood. If Stericycle is really concerned about their image, they need to cease transporting and disposing of aborted babies for Planned Parenthood. The campaign continues."