An 86-year-old grandfather was threatened with arrest last week for offering free resources to pregnant women outside a San Francisco abortion facility.
Ronald Konopaski is a faithful pro-life Christian and sidewalk counselor who frequently stands outside a Planned Parenthood in the city. Last year, Konopaski was brutally assaulted near the abortion facility, but police never caught the man who assaulted him.
On Thursday, police cited Konopaski with a misdemeanor for breaking a state shelter-in-place order while he was praying outside the Planned Parenthood, Washington Examiner reports. He is believed to be the first person in the city to receive such a citation.
Police spokesman Sgt. Michael Andraychak said officers warned him Wednesday about breaking the order and, on Thursday, they cited him when he returned. If Konopaski returns again, he could be arrested, according to the report.
In other cities, pro-life advocates have been arrested for conducting small, peaceful prayer gatherings and outreach efforts outside abortion facilities during the coronavirus.
Konopaski said he believes he did not violate the order because he was conducting an essential service, offering pregnant women other choices.
“Once they get inside, they’re only offered one option and that’s an abortion. And so we’re outside to give them another choice that they can keep their baby,” Konopaski told the local CBS News affiliate. “The people who are opposing my being there are just using this order as a tool to engage the police to do their dirty work to get rid of me.”
Keep up with the latest pro-life news and information on Twitter. Follow @LifeNewsHQ
At least a dozen pro-lifers have been arrested within the past two weeks for doing peaceful sidewalk outreach near abortion facilities across the country. Pro-life Christian David Benham and seven others were arrested Saturday while praying outside an abortion facility in Charlotte, North Carolina.
“The sidewalk counselors stayed over 6’ apart and there were less than five of them. Yet this officer selectively enforced the law, even though Cities4Life had less than 10 people,” Benham wrote on Twitter, noting that his organization has helped more than 5,000 moms and babies.
Pro-life sidewalk counselors also were arrested in Greensboro, North Carolina last weeks for allegedly violating stay-at-home orders.
While pro-life advocates’ peaceful outreach is deemed non-essential under state health orders, abortion facilities’ deadly work killing unborn babies is being allowed to continue in most states.
Most states now have stay-at-home orders as well as temporary restrictions on non-essential medical procedures to conserve medical supplies and stop further spread of the coronavirus. However, pro-abortion Democrat leaders in several states are showing favoritism to the abortion industry, allowing abortion facilities to remain open to abort unborn babies in elective abortions.
Pro-life sidewalk counselors have said they will continue to stand outside abortion facilities to pray and offer support as long as unborn babies are being aborted.
On Sunday, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, a pro-life Republican from Texas, came to pro-life advocates’ defense and slammed Benham’s arrest as unconstitutional. Cruz said the pro-lifers were exercising their “core First Amendment rights” and were doing so peacefully and safely.
“Because elected Dems are pro-abortion, they are abusing their power—in a one-sided way—to silence pregnancy counselors,” Cruz wrote on Twitter.
John Snyder, a North Carolina attorney and legal analyst, told Spectrum News that he also believes the arrests were unconstitutional.
“Constitutionally, they have a right to be out there, expressing their views and assisting in the way they believe they are. They have that First Amendment protection,” Snyder said.