Florida Pregnancy Help Center’s Billboard Vandalized

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

Florida Pregnancy Help Center’s Billboard Vandalized

by Paul Nowak
LifeNews.com Staff Writer
December 30, 2003

South Venice, FL (LifeNews.com) — A pro-life billboard promoting a pregnancy helpline in Florida was vandalized earlier this month, in what the organization considers a targeted attack on their efforts to help women.

The billboard, leased by Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Venice, was vandalized sometime between the evening of December 19 and the morning of December 20.

The billboard read: "Right to life and liberty begins at conception. Pregnant? We can help. Call 408-7100. Paid for by Our Lady of Lourdes Parish."

"The important parts of the sign, such as the baby’s face, the phone number, and the church’s name were covered with paint," Tulla Hunt, director of client relations for the pregnancy hotline told LifeNews.com. "It also looked like someone splashed buckets of red paint on the sign. It was later entirely covered with brown paint, so it is now a blank sign."

Hunt said Lourdes parish is still unsure what, if anything, can be done to repair the sign.

"That is a violation of freedom of speech and religion," said Terry Angley, parish Respect Life representative. "That would make it a hate crime."

Angley told the Venice Gondolier that the church has leased a pro-life billboard for the past 10 years. The billboard that was vandalized had been up since February, and was the first of the church’s billboards to be defaced.

Angley said she is in the process of contacting the church’s insurance company to see if the damage to the sign is covered. Crews were attempting to clean the sign using power washers just before Christmas.

Hunt said that prior to the vandalism the hotline had received a number of "hang-up" phone calls, but "nothing out of the ordinary" has taken place since the sign was painted over.

Related web sites:
OptionLine – https://www.pregnancycenters.org