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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Matter of Opinion

Freedom of Speech: Not always eloquent

In our editorial today, we explained why Rep. John Ahern of Spokane has a free speech right to put his foot in his mouth.

The seven young people representing Planned Parenthood of the Inland Northwest traveled to Olympia for a firsthand lesson in civics. They came away with a firsthand understanding of free speech.

They hoped to lobby state Rep. John Ahern, R-Spokane, for more money for sex education. Ahern had other plans. In a meeting in his office with the teens, he said repeatedly: "By the way, I need to find out how many unborn babies were killed by Planned Parenthood."

Women and men in the United States have the right to speak eloquently or stupidly, profoundly or crudely. They also have a right to speak first and think later.

The teens can learn from Ahern what not to do when they become legislators visited by young people from their districts: Don't speak abusively, even though you possess the ability – and the right – to do so.

Have you ever been grateful for our First Amendment protections? Blog lines are open.

A Matter of Opinion is really a matter of three opinions – those held by the people responsible for the opinion pages of The Spokesman-Review. Check in regularly to find out what they’re up to, what they think and where they differ and to joust with them if you want.