Pro-Life Advocate Celebrates Decision on Sidewalk at DC Planned Parenthood
by Steven Ertelt
August 13, 2010
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — A leading pro-life advocate is celebrating the decision from Washington, D.C. city officials saying the sidewalk outside the Planned Parenthood abortion business in the nation’s capital is public property. The decision may allow pro-life advocates to pray there without interference.
As LifeNews.com reported, yesterday, the District of Columbia Office of the Attorney General has concluded that the location is, in fact, public property and is available for use by the public.
That’s important because Patrick Mahoney, a pastor who heads the Christian Defense Coalition, challenged signs Planned Parenthood posted saying its sidewalk is private property.
For the past several months, Washington D.C. police officers have been threatening peaceful pro-life activists with arrest for simply praying and counseling on the public sidewalk in front of Planned Parenthood.
"We thank God for this important victory for free speech, public prayer and the First Amendment," Mahoney told LifeNews.com late Thursday.
"The City of Washington, D.C. got it right when they reversed their tragic decision to arrest American citizens for simply praying on a public sidewalk," he added. "It would have been unthinkable for our nation’s capital to ban and prohibit prayer on a public sidewalk, just blocks from the White House, to protect abortion and Planned Parenthood."
Mahoney said the decision is proof that sometimes pro-life people have to assert their rights in order to have them protected.
"There is a word of caution however. If we did not stand for our rights and go to jail; if we did not mount an aggressive legal effort and if we did not invite people do come from around the country to pray on the public sidewalk even under the threat of arrest, that sidewalk would still be closed to the First Amendment," he said.
Mahoney said the episode "shows the lack of integrity and commitment that Planned Parenthood has to the First Amendment and the truth."
He said, "They constantly lied about the nature of that sidewalk saying it was ‘private’ when they knew it was public. It should remind every American if an organization has no respect for the dignity and sanctity of life why would they respect the dignity of free speech?"
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