A Toledo, Ohio, pro-life group is taking a creative approach to the city’s anticipated ban on sidewalk counseling. Catholic News Agency reports that the organization Foundation for Life has raised enough funds to purchase a parking lot across the street from the city’s sole abortion facility, Capital Care of Toledo. The $35,000 purchase will allow sidewalk counselors to sidestep any city ordinances and legally minister to women who park in the lot to visit the facility.
According to 13ABC, women often park in the lot by mistake. In the past, abortion facility escorts would meet these women at their cars, trying to distract them from the sidewalk counselors nearby who hoped to share a pro-life message. Now, those abortion escorts are no longer allowed on the property, giving the pro-lifers an additional chance to offer hope and assistance to women in trouble.
The parking lot purchase couldn’t have come at a better time. In February, the Toledo city council introduced a measure called the Patient Safety Ordinance, which would prohibit sidewalk counselors from coming within 8-feet of anyone trying to enter an abortion facility. While the ordinance hasn’t yet come to a vote, the group’s parking lot purchase ensures that even if it does pass, pro-lifers will still have an outlet to reach women in crisis on their own property.
Ed Sitter, the executive director of Foundation for Life, spoke to CNA about his group’s purchase. “We were thrilled to have the opportunity and grateful for the three generous donors who stepped up and enabled us to purchase the property,” he said. Sitter told CNA that his group was able to purchase the parking lot for half its asking price because the lot’s previous owner was pro-life.
The purchase is, of course, drawing ire from the pro-abortion advocates. City councilman Nick Komives, who introduced the sidewalk counseling ordinance, told 13ABC that it was a “petty move.” Pro-lifers like Bob Schoen, though, are positive about the purchase in the face of what would otherwise be an extremely detrimental city ordinance. “They’ll change their minds,” he said of women who visit the facility. “We know that it’s not going to be many, but it doesn’t have to be many for us. We want to help the ones that we can.”
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