City Pays Pro-Life Activist $7,000 After Ticketing Him for Pro-Life Signs

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Aug 21, 2013   |   10:27AM   |   Ann Arbor, MI

The city of Ann Arbor, Michigan has agreed to pay a pro-life advocate who parked a car outside a Planned Parenthood abortion business that was adorned with pro-life signs offering help and support for women.

From local news reports:

The city of Ann Arbor has agreed to pay $7,000 to settle a lawsuit brought by a Planned Parenthood protester who claimed his free speech rights were violated.

The City Council went into closed session with a city attorney Monday night and emerged from behind closed doors to vote 8-0 in favor of a resolution ending the case.

The American Freedom Law Center filed the federal civil rights lawsuit against the city and Police Chief John Seto in April for alleged violations of Paul Dobrowolski’s First Amendment rights.

Dobrowolski, a pro-life advocate from Saline, displayed anti-abortion signs in his vehicle parked on a public street outside Planned Parenthood in Ann Arbor for more than a year.

The city ticketed Dobrowolski on May 29 and June 4 last year for displaying the signs, and on two occasions he paid $25 fines to the city.



Language on Dobrowolski’s signs included “Ask to see the Ultrasound,” “Abortion Hurts Women” and “Free Ultrasound, Family Life Services, 2950 Packard, YPSI, 734-434-3088.”

Ann Arbor’s city code states that a person is not allowed to park a vehicle on a city roadway for the principal purpose of displaying advertising.

Specifically, Dobrowolski’s “Free Ultrasound” sign was considered to be advertising by the Ann Arbor Police Department and that was the reason he was ticketed.