Criminal Charges Dismissed Against Elderly Pro-Lifer for Praying Outside Abortion Clinic

State   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Apr 28, 2020   |   5:03PM   |   Sacramento, CA

California officials dropped charges against an 86-year-old pro-life advocate this month after he was cited while praying outside a San Francisco abortion facility.

Ron Konopaski, 86, is one of at least a dozen pro-life advocates who were arrested or threatened with arrest for standing peacefully outside abortion facilities within the past month. Fortunately, many of the charges are being dropped.

The Church Militant reports the Life Legal Defense Foundation announced a victory in Konopaski’s case this week.

“We believe the criminal citation was an impermissible prohibition on free speech outside abortion facilities and a gross overreach of the city’s authority,” the pro-life legal group said in a statement. “As long as Planned Parenthood is permitted to kill babies, pro-life advocates like Ron must be allowed to provide women with accurate information about abortion as well as resources to help women carry their babies to term.”

Konopaski and other pro-life advocates have been accused of violating stay-at-home orders and other restrictions to preserve life during the coronavirus outbreak. Meanwhile, abortion facilities have been allowed to continue killing unborn babies in elective abortions throughout the crisis.

On April 2, police threatened to arrest the pro-life advocate and cited him with a misdemeanor for breaking a state shelter-in-place order while he was praying outside the Planned Parenthood, Washington Examiner reports. He reportedly was the first person in San Francisco to receive a coronavirus-related citation.

Life Legal attorney Michael Millen told Church Militant that he believes Konopaski’s citation was “politically motivated” by a “disgruntled police officer.”

“Charging Mr. Konopaski with a violation of San Francisco Administrative Code 7.17(b) was absurd because the charge involved proving that Mr. Konopaski was ‘likely’ to ‘imperil the lives or property of inhabitants of this City and County,’” Millen said.

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He said the district attorney recognized the problems with “prosecuting a senior citizen for carrying a sign on the public sidewalk while allowing other citizens to freely walk and jog past the Valencia St. Planned Parenthood Clinic.”

Konopaski is a faithful pro-life Christian, 40 Days for Life leader 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.

Konopaski said he believes he did not violate the order because he was conducting an essential service, offering pregnant women life-affirming choices for their unborn babies.

“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.”

At least a dozen pro-lifers have been arrested within the past month for doing sidewalk outreach near abortion facilities across the country. David Benham and seven others also were arrested 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 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.