Obama Admin Wrong to Persecute Elderly Pro-Life Man

Opinion   Brad Mattes   Aug 22, 2011   |   5:34PM    Washington, DC

I’d like to introduce you to Richard Retta, a 79-year-old grandfather. He’s being prosecuted by President Obama’s Department of Justice (DOJ).

Richard’s crime is that he walks alongside women on the sidewalk outside a Planned Parenthood abortion mill. He gently offers them hope that they can carry their babies to full term and save these innocent children from the deadly claws of the abortion industry.

For the first time in over a decade, Richard is being sued for obstruction. The DOJ claims that his actions violate the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act, which Congress enacted in 1994. He now faces a $10,000 civil penalty for “violating” FACE and another $15,000 in fines to alleged victims. We predicted then that the FACE Act would ultimately be used to prosecute law abiding pro-life advocates.

Never mind that this statute permits him to walk besides women coming to or going from a so-called “clinic” like Planned Parenthood. Furthermore, the FACE Act forbids only physical obstruction, intimidation, or the use of force. It actually goes so far as to specifically protect Richard’s actions; namely, “any expressive conduct (including peaceful picketing or other peaceful demonstration).”

The handling of Richard Retta by the DOJ is a stark contrast to their dismissal of a recent New Black Panther voter-obstruction case in 2008. The pro-abortion Justice Department—an irony in itself—appears to consider peaceful sidewalk counselors more of a physical threat than men armed with night sticks who intimidate voters outside a polling place.

Despite the DOJ’s efforts to silence sidewalk counselors like Richard with misconduct allegations, the work of these good people cannot go unnoticed. Along with other volunteers, Richard’s faithful stand for life and hope is estimated to have helped over 1,300 women change their minds about aborting their babies. He and the many other pro-lifers who stand in the gap to protect America’s unborn children and their mothers deserve our gratitude, not political harassment.

His story is just a small drop in the bucket of the difference that peaceful sidewalk counselors can and have made saving women and children from the life-long misery of abortion. I commend Richard and other peaceful, prayerful sidewalk counselors.

Join me in sending Richard an email of encouragement. Barack Obama’s bureaucratic thugs are making life very difficult for him. Your email will brighten his day and embolden him to continue standing for justice while saving babies. Please address it to WeLoveRichard@lifeissues.org and I’ll personally see that he gets your message. Please send it today.