After nearly four years, a pro-life pregnancy center in Raleigh, North Carolina finally can move in next door to an abortion facility.
The Hand of Hope Pregnancy Resource Center has owned the property since 2015, but a city zoning decision and lobbying by abortion activists prevented it from opening the facility next to A Preferred Women’s Health Center, an abortion facility.
The pro-life organization sued the city and, on Sept. 27, reached a settlement allowing it to proceed with its plans to establish the new outreach for moms and babies, according to the Catholic News Agency.
“We are eagerly anticipating the earliest possible date for us to occupy our property that we have owned since December 2015 beside one of the busiest privately owned abortion clinics in the Southeast!” Tonya Baker Nelson, executive director of the pregnancy center, wrote Nov. 27 on Facebook.
Within a “few months,” Nelson said they hope to begin providing free counseling, ultrasounds, education classes, abortion pill reversal procedures, Bible studies and more.
The settlement includes some restrictions for the pregnancy center’s outreach.
Here’s more from the report:
According to the News & Observer, which obtained a copy of the Sept. 27 settlement terms, the city of Raleigh will pay Hand of Hope $25,000 after the lawsuit is dismissed. The pregnancy center agreed to not allow protesters on its site, “provided public prayer does not constitute protesting,” the terms state.
Though the agreement will allow Hand of Hope to continue providing free ultrasounds, the terms also require that less than one-fourth of the house’s square footage be used for medical activities. In addition, Hand of Hope will be able to provide a “predetermined set of medical services” for only one in four people visiting the office, The News & Observer reports.
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The center will have to follow state law in administering its ultrasounds and other medical procedures, explain its religious origins on its website, and include the phrase “Hand of Hope” on any sign at its new location, according to The News & Observer.
The legal issue involved city zoning ordinances and whether the pregnancy center is a civic group or a medical facility, according to the local news. However, abortion politics appeared to be at the root of the dispute. Employees of the Raleigh abortion clinic lobbied against the pregnancy center’s zoning request from the start.
According to its website, Hands of Hope operates two pregnancy centers in North Carolina where it offers free and confidential pregnancy tests, ultrasounds, STD testing, options counseling and more. The pro-life center says it “exists solely to truly offer women and men who are experiencing an unexpected pregnancy a real choice in their decision making process.”