Sidewalk counselors nearly blocked from exercising free speech due to COVID-19 lockdown

sidewalk counselors, free speech

On March 26th, a group of sidewalk counselors from the organization Created Equal attempted to counsel women entering the Planned Parenthood in Columbus, Ohio. However, a police officer blocked them from doing so as he said he was ordered to enforce the recently declared COVID-19 stay-at-home directive issued by Ohio Governor Mike DeWine earlier in the week. Although the group argued for their First Amendment rights, the officer claimed that he been informed by his legal advisor that they could not assemble. Later the officer received clarification on the order and cleared up the confusion with the group by allowing them to stay outside the facility as long as they followed social distancing procedures, which included remaining six feet apart and in groups of 10 or less.

Created Equal regularly conducts pro-life outreach from the sidewalks near many abortion businesses across the nation. They recorded the encounter and it can be viewed below.


While it appears that pro-life speech is not held as a priority during the COVID-19 pandemic, surgical abortion is deemed an “essential” procedure by officials in some states. Thankfully, multiple other states have decided that surgical abortions are non-essential and have required that abortion businesses halt all surgical abortions. While Louisiana has determined surgical abortions to be non-essential, Live Action learned that one of the state’s three abortion businesses — Hope Medical Group for Women in Shreveport — has continued to schedule surgical abortions.

READ: Abortion giant Planned Parenthood seeks PPE donations during COVID-19 pandemic

In a statement regarding the Columbus incident, Created Equal founder Mark Harrington said, “Despite orders to cease performing surgical abortions, in most states Planned Parenthood is defying these orders, maintaining abortions are essential service. At the same time when pro-life speech is not being considered essential, Planned Parenthood is violating the orders of several governors to cease non-essential service (i.e. – surgical abortions). Unfortunately, what happened to us in Columbus is happening across America. As long as Planned Parenthood is killing babies, we will work to save them.”

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