Pennsylvania Pro-Life Sidewalk Counselors Get Settlement After Abortion Arrests
by Steven Ertelt
March 4, 2010
Philadelphia, PA (LifeNews.com) — With the help of a pro-life legal group, pro-life sidewalk counselors near Philadelphia secured a favorable settlement with the city of York Tuesday.
Alliance Defense Fund allied attorneys and ADF attorneys helped the people who were kept from sharing their pro-life message with individuals in a public alley next to a Planned Parenthood abortion facility.
Edward Snell and John McTernan, who were arrested and threatened with arrest, respectively, for exercising their First Amendment rights, were represented by ADF attorneys and allied attorneys in two separate lawsuits against the city of York.
Christians shouldn’t be arrested and threatened with arrest for expressing their beliefs on public property, said Randall L. Wenger–one of more than 1,600 ADF-allied attorneys–who was lead counsel in the cases and serves as chief counsel of the Independence Law Center in Harrisburg.
We are pleased that the city has recognized the free speech rights of these peaceful and respectful pro-life counselors. These men and other pro-life advocates will no longer be unlawfully prevented from sharing their message–at the whim of hostile police officers acting in the interest of Planned Parenthood," he said.
City of York police arrested Snell in November 2004 in a public alley for peacefully attempting to hand out literature and speak with people walking to a Planned Parenthood abortion facility from its parking lot. McTernan was threatened with arrest in September 2005 by a York police officer if he continued to use the same alley, where he simply wished to hold a pro-life sign.
In April 2009, a federal judges decision against Snell and McTernan was reversed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit, which opened their cases to a jury trial and established precedent that limits the ability of police to use special rules to silence pro-life counselors.
ADF-allied attorneys Dennis Boyle and Josh Autry played a leading role in the lawsuits Snell v. City of York and McTernan v. City of York, which were being heard in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit. ADF Senior Counsel Glen Lavy, ADF Senior Legal Counsel Douglas H. Napier, and ADF Legal Counsel Matt Bowman served as co-counsel in the cases.
Related web sites:
Alliance Defense Fund – https://www.telladf.org
Sign Up for Free Pro-Life News From LifeNews.com
Daily Pro-Life News Report Twice-Weekly Pro-Life
News Report Receive a free daily email report from LifeNews.com with the latest pro-life news stories on abortion, euthanasia and stem cell research. Sign up here. Receive a free twice-weekly email report with the latest pro-life news headlines on abortion, euthanasia and stem cell research. Sign up here.