A pro-life sidewalk counselor won a victory in court this week when the City of Detroit, Michigan agreed to drop a misdemeanor against him for standing outside an abortion facility March 31.
The AP reports city leaders agreed to dismiss the citation after Andrew Belanger filed a lawsuit accusing the city and pro-abortion Democrat Gov. Gretchen Whitmer of violating his First Amendment rights.
The parties reached a settlement Tuesday in front of a federal judge, according to the report. Whitmer and city officials also agreed in the settlement that Belanger was not doing anything illegal, the report states.
On March 31, police cited Belanger of ONElife for Life for doing pro-life outreach outside the Scotsdale Women’s Center and Family Planning abortion facility in Detroit, according to Christian News Network.
Police accused him of violating state and local stay-at-home orders during the health crisis and threatened to arrest him if he refused to stop, according to his lawsuit.
Belanger said he was alone, practicing social distancing safety measures when the eight police cars and 15 officers showed up at the scene. He also said he feels compelled to be on the sidewalk to offer women information about alternatives to abortion as long as abortion facilities are open.
“Because abortion centers remain open in Michigan during this current pandemic, Plaintiffs are compelled by their consciences to engage in their expressive religious activities on the public sidewalks outside of abortion centers located throughout the state,” the lawsuit states.
The American Freedom Law Center, which represents Belanger, said one of the problems was that Whitmer’s order allowed “exceptions for individuals who walk, hike, run, or cycle on public sidewalks throughout the State of Michigan, but the order punishes Plaintiffs for using the very same public sidewalks for exercising their constitutional rights.”
SUPPORT LIFENEWS! If you like this pro-life article, please help LifeNews.com with a donation!
Last week, after Belanger filed the lawsuit, the governor’s office clarified that free expression is still allowed under her stay-at-home order.
“Does Executive Order 2020-42 prohibit persons from engaging in outdoor activities that are protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution?” her website now states. “No. Persons may engage in expressive activities protected by the First Amendment within the State of Michigan, but must adhere to social distancing measures recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, including remaining at least six feet from people from outside the person’s household.”
The sidewalk counselors are helping save mothers and babies. According to the report, on the same day police cited Belanger, a woman walked out of the abortion facility and chose life for her unborn twins. The pro-lifers said she accepted information about resources available to pregnant and parenting families.
The Detroit abortion facility does not help mothers or babies. It destroys human lives by doing abortions up to 24 weeks when unborn babies are viable and capable of feeling pain.
In late March, pro-lifers spotted 80-year-old abortionist Franklyn Seabrooks entering the facility without any personal protective gear and failing to maintain the 6-foot social distancing requirement with people standing outside. Seabrooks has been disciplined multiple times, including for a botched abortion in which a baby was born alive, according to Operation Rescue.
Across the country, pro-life advocates have been cited, arrested and threatened with arrest for praying and sidewalk counseling outside abortion facilities during the health crisis. Earlier this month, pro-life Christian David Benham was arrested while praying outside an abortion facility in Charlotte, North Carolina.
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 many 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 they remain open.