UPDATE, 4/3/20, 1:31p ET: Alliance Defending Freedom has sent a letter to the city on behalf of the pro-life organizations themselves involved, Love Life and Love Life Charlotte, the legal organization announced in a press release. The release states:
“As our letter explains, the emergency proclamation, the Constitution, and court precedent do not support these interpretations. They all support the free speech activities of Love Life,” said ADF Senior Counsel Kevin Theriot, director of the ADF Center for Life. “Did the city really have no choice but to arrest these pastors and other Christians under the circumstances—and possibly punish them with up to 60 days in jail and a $1,000 fine? Of course not, especially when the same government is allowing other people to walk, bike, golf, and picnic.”
4/3/20: On Thursday, the Thomas More Society announced that it has filed a lawsuit on behalf of pro-lifers arrested in Greensboro, North Carolina, last Saturday. The suit was filed against Greensboro Mayor Nancy Vaughan and seeks a temporary restraining order in federal court to protect the right of pro-life citizens to peacefully pray in front of abortion businesses during the current Stay Home Order.
In an press release, the Thomas More Society noted that the plaintiffs are seeking protection simply to publicly witness “in accord with the express terms of the Guilford County Stay Home Order and North Carolina’s statewide Stay Home Order, both of which state that ‘outdoor activity’ is ‘essential.’” All the plaintiffs, and the other pro-lifers present at the Greensboro abortion business where the incident took place, have expressed their commitment to adhering to the social distancing requirements of the stay home order. Stephen Crampton, Senior Counsel at the Thomas More Society, stressed, “They merely want to peacefully pray and witness on the public sidewalk without government interference.”
As of the Thomas More Society’s press release, the Greensboro police had neither threatened to arrest nor arrested any other individuals using public sidewalks in the city. Read the plaintiff’s memorandum here.
Crampton added, “Prayer is still legal during this Pandemic. Greensboro’s Mayor Vaughan should be ashamed of herself for using the cover of this national crisis to attack public expressions of religious faith that she disagrees with. If Mayor Vaughan were truly interested in saving lives, she would shut down this abortion clinic, which is using up critical personal protective equipment needed for COVID-19 response.”
Live Action president and founder Lila Rose joined pro-life leaders in urging the Department of Health and Human Services to halt abortion businesses from operating during the crisis. During the pandemic, abortions continue to result in potentially life-threatening complications, putting additional strain on increasingly burdened emergency medical services and requiring personal protective equipment desperately needed by health care professionals on the frontlines of the COVID-19 crisis.
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