NY Pro-Life Group Gets to Hold Event, but Bias Continues

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Aug 30, 2003   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

NY Pro-Life Group Gets to Hold Event, but Bias Continues

by Maria Gallagher
LifeNews.com Staff Writer
August 30, 2003

Westchester, NY (LifeNews.com) — A pro-life group in New York state succeeded in its quest to hold an event at the prestigious county building, but an attendee insists that government bias against the group was still present at the event.

In response to the threat of a federal court injunction, the Westchester County Board of Legislators permitted an event known as Women’s Equality Day (Reformed) to occur in the foyer of the Legislative Chambers last week.

The event marked the granting of women’s suffrage in 1920. The event also honored pro-life pediatrician Lisa A. Marrero, M.D., for her work at the Elinor Martin Residence in White Plains and the Pregnancy Care Center in New Rochelle.

But organizers of the pro-life event had to wage a legal battle in order to secure space. The group’s initial request was granted and later rescinded, apparently because of the group’s pro-life views. Regina Riely filed suit on behalf of herself and Feminists for Life of New York, calling on a federal judge to issue a restraining order allowing her access to a community room in the Westchester County Board of Legislators building.

The Board of Legislators has permitted the use of its facilities by outside groups, including the pro-abortion National Organization for Women and the Westchester Coalition for Legalized Abortion. The pro-life legal group Liberty Counsel represented Reily in her suit.

Reily was ultimately victorious in her effort to secure access to the Board of Legislators building. But one observer says that the discrimination against the pro-life group continued, even after the event was allowed to go on. Elizabeth Rex, President of the Children First Foundation in Eastchester, New York, said, "The treatment of the pro-life event was outrageous."

When the group was permitted into the room, they found there were "no chairs, no podium, no microphone, no air conditioning, and no water," according to Rex. One woman who brought her own bottle of water was told she could not bring it with her into the building.

"No mention of this ill treatment was made during the event…but I am sure the previous attendees were not treated in this manner," Rex said.

"Westchester County Executive Andrew Spano has some explaining to do regarding this unequal treatment and blatant discrimination against pro-life citizens and taxpayers," Rex added.

Westchester County officials could not be reached for comment on the pro-life group’s treatment.