Texas Planned Parenthood Protests the American Flag
by Maria Gallagher
LifeNews.com Staff Writer
August 11, 2003
Bryan, TX (LifeNews.com) — Planned Parenthood is taking a stand: against the American flag.
The nation’s largest abortion operation has pressured the city of Bryan, Texas, to ban the Stars and Stripes in the public right-of-way.
The controversy erupted after a Bryan police officer demanded a pro-life military veteran remove his American flag from the public right-of-way in front of an abortion center. The veteran was flying his flag at half-staff in memory of the babies who were being killed at the facility July 9th.
According to the Coalition for Life, a pro-life group, the police officer
said, "I’ve been on the phone with our legal department. The flag
constitutes a sign and the flag must be taken down."
But pro-life activists believe the move was an attempt at selective
enforcement, since city officials initially refused to take similar action
to remove other American flags placed in the public right-of-way throughout Bryan. Later, the city ordered the removal of several other flags from the public right-of-way.
In a written statement, the Bryan Coalition for Life said, "According to the City Attorney and Planned Parenthood, the American flag now is no different from a Budweiser billboard. At a time when our troops are defending freedom abroad, it is regrettable that the City Attorney’s office acted on behalf of the abortion chain to ban the flag that symbolizes the very freedom those soldiers are fighting for."
The Coalition for Life originated in 1998 after Planned Parenthood announced plans to build the first abortion center in the history of Texas’ Brazos Valley. The group, which is made up of both churches and individuals, estimates that Planned Parenthood has aborted more than 1800 children in Bryan since the facility opened.
Bryan’s City Manager, Mary Kaye Moore, indicates that, as far as the city is concerned, the issue isn’t the American flag or abortion, but rather a violation of a city ordinance.
"As City Manager, I can tell you that historically, the City of Bryan has enforced the sign ordinance on a complaint-driven basis.” Moore said.
"This means that once someone has complained to us about anything that does not comply with our ordinances, we then meet with the offenders and ask that they comply with the ordinance. Planned Parenthood complained about one American flag that was anchored with guide wires and flying at half mast in the right of way in front of their building.” Moore said that the structure used to anchor the flag violated a city ordinance.
Bryan’s City Attorney, Michael Cosentino, said, "Citizens may proudly carry, wear, or hold any flag in the public rights of way. American flags are proudly flown on the premises of all City of Bryan buildings. Private property owners are free to continue flying the American flag on their property."
But the Coalition for Life is skeptical.
"If we don’t stand up to protect our freedom of speech and the freedom to fly an American flag, there might soon be a day when we will no longer have those freedoms,” the Coalition said.
Coalition leaders are urging pro-lifers to contact Mayor Jay Don Watson, City Council, and City Manager Mary Kaye Moore and ask them to
· stop caving in to the political pressure from Planned Parenthood by
banning the American flag from the public right-of-way;
· please ensure that the city of Bryan stops trying to silence pro-life free speech;
· in a public forum at the next City Council meeting, please take a strong stand in support of the American flag and the freedom it represents.
The Mayor can be reached at (979) 209-5008. City Council and the City Manager can be reached at (979) 209-5000.