Tuesday, June 07, 2011

I'll take unsympathetic plaintiffs for $800, Alex.

Should it be against the law for this billboard to be posted?

Does your answer change if the individual in the photograph is not a model but a man whose former girlfriend terminated an unwanted pregnancy?

Does your answer change if the billboard ad was purchased by the ex-boyfriend and erected in their hometown?

Some notes:

- Neither the man nor the woman are identified in the ad, although they may be identifiable.
- The woman's friends assert that the pregnancy ended via miscarriage, not an elective abortion.

Someone with Westlaw access and some free time can answer whether alleging someone had an abortion when she didn't has previously been found defamatory under New Mexico law, as Kash Hill suggests. I suppose in this context it does constitute an allegation of unchastity.

Although the individual on the billboard is clearly a jerk, it's very common for people to be moved to political activism by events in their lives. It seems obvious that this was not just an event in the woman's life, but in his as well. Do we want to create a rule for broad protection of privacy rights that will also apply to more sympathetic cases? 
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