A number of pro-life activists have announced that they will pray on the public walkway in front of the Washington, D.C. Planned Parenthood (PP) on Saturday, August 14 as part of an event called “A Time to Stand” – even if doing so means arrest and going to jail.
Rev. Patrick J. Mahoney, Director of the Christian Defense Coalition, said about the event: “We are going to embrace free speech, the First Amendment and religious liberty … We will not be bullied or intimidated into silence.
“It is tragic that peaceful Americans are being threatened with arrest and actually being arrested for simply praying on a public sidewalk and offering women help who are facing a crisis pregnancy.”
For years the pro-life community has been allowed to pray, counsel and hold demonstrations on the sidewalk, but earlier this year PP built a fence around the walkway and put up signs claiming that the area is private property. Now law enforcement officials are threatening to arrest people if they enter the fenced-off area.
On June 8 of this year, Rev. Mahoney was arrested for praying and reading the Bible.
But while PP claims the land is “private,” pro-lifers argue that the abortion giant has not produced any evidence proving their case. Instead, they say, all the evidence indicates that the walkway remains public, as it has always been.
The American Center for Law and Justice, which is representing Rev. Mahoney, has met with D.C. City officials, and says that the officials confirmed that the sidewalk still remains public.
“It is unconscionable that the City of Washington, D.C. would ban and prohibit prayer and the First Amendment on a public sidewalk while protecting abortion and Planned Parenthood,” said Mahoney.
Mahoney also pointed to the recent case to the case of Joseph Holland, a Northwestern University graduate student, who was arrested by police on a charge of disorderly conduct on July 3 for praying in front of a Chicago Planned Parenthood clinic.
“With the recent arrest of a man praying in front of an abortion clinic in Chicago, the question must be asked, is this future of free speech and abortion under the Obama Administration?” he asked.