Plus Size Woman Gagged

Brian Shilhavy
Health Impact News Editor

Since we have been publishing the stories of parents who have had their children seized by medical authorities and social service agencies over medical disputes, twice now we have had family court judges tell us, via the parents, to take down our stories because the parents were supposedly violating their gag orders.

Well, there is just one problem with those gag orders and judges’ orders to remove parents’ stories from the media: they are unconstitutional according to some of the top legal authorities in the United States.

When Lou Pelletier broke the gag order that Judge Joseph Johnston of the family court in Massachusetts placed on him regarding the medical kidnapping of his daughter Justina, he was threatened with contempt of court. But by disobeying the judge’s gag order, the Pelletiers gained national media exposure.

One person who spoke out and offered free legal advice to the family was the renowned Harvard law professor and Civil Rights expert Alan Dershowitz. Dershowitz came out and stated that the gag order was clearly unconstitutional.

The national group Liberty Counsel then took up the Pelletier case. In their Case of Justina Pelletier Fact Sheet, their attorneys stated:

Gag Order: The Juvenile Court imposed an unconstitutional gag order upon the parents to prevent them from speaking to the media about this case. After the father spoke to the media, DCF sought to hold him in contempt. Liberty Counsel began representing the Pelletiers and submitted a brief in opposition to the enforcement of the gag order. DCF then agreed to drop the contempt motion, the judge dissolved the gag order, and the judge ordered the return of Justina’s medical care back to Tufts Medical Center and Dr. Korson, where she had been treated before the ER visit.

These gag orders are obviously nothing less than intimidation tactics trying to scare parents into giving up their constitutional rights to free speech. Sadly, many of these parents cannot afford private attorneys, and are forced to accept court appointed ones. In one of our current stories, the court appointed attorney is trying to get the mother to plead guilty and give up all her rights, rather than fight to get her child back. She is hoping one of the national organizations like Liberty Counsel will take up her case.

For more information about how family court judges operate, see:

Medical Kidnapping Business: Judges Skirting the Law for Federal Funds