A national pro-life leader was arrested outside an abortion clinic because the spot where he chose to kneel, read scripture, and pray was too close to the entrance.
Two weeks ago, Christian Defense Coalition director Pat Mahoney was arrested in downtown Washington, D.C., outside the main Planned Parenthood clinic while he prayed on the sidewalk. His action violated an injunction imposed by Attorney General John Ashcroft, prohibiting him from coming within 20 feet of the clinic.
Mahoney, who admitted to purposely moving within the 20-foot zone, said the injunction was unique in that there was no complainant behind its issuing. “We've actually met with the Assistant Attorney General Ralph Boyd, and we asked him, 'Who is the injured party?' Mahoney says. “To get a federal injunction, you have to have an injured party and there isn't any.”
Many pro-life leaders in Washington feel the injunction may be some sort of payback to the pro-abortion lobby. “It is extremely troubling to have the Attorney General, who is to protect civil liberties and to protect First Amendment freedoms, now issuing an injunction barring them,” Mahoney says. “We feel that Mr. Ashcroft is being politically motivated.”
Mahoney faces up to six months in jail for his defiant action of praying on a public sidewalk in front of the clinic.
Ohio Abortion Clinics
Meanwhile, the Governor of Ohio has signed a bill aimed at regulating abortion facilities. Governor Bob Taft has signed the bill which provides the Ohio Department of Health clear powers to enforce licensing and health requirements on ambulatory surgical facilities (ASFs), including most abortion clinics.
The bill had passed the Ohio House of Representatives in May. The Ohio Senate then voted to concur in the House amendments to the bill on May 23. It had earlier passed the Ohio Senate on June 28, 2001. The bill resulted from the discovery in 1999 that several abortion clinics in Ohio did not have ASF licenses.
Although most clinics subsequently obtained a license, it became clear that the statute requiring a license did not create specific penalties for failing to obtain one. The department could also impose sanctions on a licensed facility that was not complying with the department’s health and safety rules.
(This update courtesy of Agape Press.)