After a dozen years of being prohibited by Jacksonville police from being within a block of an abortion clinic, work by Thomas More Society attorneys now has put sidewalk counselors right across the street. On March 25, 2021, just before Holy Week, Jacksonville Family for Life held a Catholic Mass just across the street from the abortion vendor, A Woman’s Choice of Jacksonville, Florida.
About 75 people held a Eucharistic procession in front of the abortion clinic and participated in the first-ever outdoor Mass. During the service, a biocycle truck arrived to pick up the fetal remains of babies aborted during the previous week, leading some to remark that the Mass would serve as a funeral for the aborted children.
“I am still in the clouds, still trying to digest that we actually just celebrated an outdoor Mass right across the driveway from the abortion clinic,” said Trudy Perez-Poveda of Family for LIFE.
“The Thomas More Society attorneys were the reason that this spectacular celebration of life could take place. And it happened on the Feast Day of the Conception of Jesus,” Perez-Poveda added.
Thomas More Society Senior Counsel Matt Heffron, stated “This is a tribute to the perseverance of Trudy Perez-Poveda and Family for LIFE…and the providence of God.”
Heffron related how over the past dozen years Family for LIFE had been prohibited by police from getting within about a block of the abortion business. The facility is located in an office park serviced by a private driveway that runs between the buildings. Local law enforcement has long confined pro-life activists to the busy street at the corner where the private drive begins. This has denied the group’s sidewalk counselors a chance to offer assistance and share life-affirming alternatives to abortion.
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About a year ago, Perez-Poveda found the warranty deed for the abortion clinic property online, discovering that there was a nonexclusive easement on the property. The Family for LIFE’s Perez-Poveda reached out to the Thomas More Society for legal assistance in the matter.
“We did a lot of research and then hired some top-notch real-estate attorneys and litigators in a large law firm in Jacksonville,” said Heffron. “After lots of discussions and analysis, we developed several legal strategies.”
“Then providentially – and I do mean providentially,” Heffron continued, “An office came open for rent right across the driveway from the abortion clinic. Of course, anyone renting in that business park would be allowed to use the easement to access their business. It was a rock-solid solution. Our Jacksonville attorneys assisted Family for LIFE with the legal aspects and paperwork to get it done.”
“So now, Family for LIFE is the across-the-drive neighbor to the abortion clinic,” Heffron said. “Weren’t the abortionists surprised!”
The way is now open for life advocates to pray and offer alternatives to abortion right in front of A Woman’s Choice of Jacksonville.
Heffron added that the Thomas More Society was also able to assist Family for LIFE with open-records requests as well. For three years, a Jacksonville city official had refused to respond to Family for Life open-records requests for information about ambulances responding to the abortion clinic. After more research and letters and telephone calls with city attorneys suggesting a potential TMS lawsuit, the Thomas More Society was able to turn that situation around. Family for Life got the information it needed, without needing to go through a lawsuit.
Not long after Family for LIFE moved into the new office this spring, off-duty police personnel working as hired security for the abortion center, threatened life-advocates with citation and arrest. Thomas More Society attorneys again intervened to point out the violation of both Florida law and U.S. Constitutional rights that would incur.
Perez-Poveda stated that as Family for LIFE’s onsite life-advocacy will continue, they are already planning more outdoor Masses in the coming months.
No one expects these abortionists to give up easily. Heffron assures that the Thomas More Society will be there to see Family for LIFE through any legal obstacles.
For now, Heffron said, “It is great to celebrate this victory…just in time for Holy Week.”
View video of the March 25, 2021, Family for LIFE-hosted Eucharistic procession outside of A Women’s Choice of Jacksonville abortion facility in Florida, followed by a Catholic Mass across the street, here.