After citing grandpa for praying outside, San Francisco reverses, allows protests at abortion centers
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SAN FRANCISCO, California, April 16, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) ― The City of San Francisco has reaffirmed the right of pro-life witnesses to continue offering resources to pregnant women outside abortion businesses during the COVID-19 crisis.
According to the Life Legal Defense Foundation, which published the news on Tuesday, “Life Legal attorneys successfully negotiated with San Francisco city attorneys to protect the First Amendment rights of pro-lifers outside the city’s abortion clinics.”
Yesterday the Pro-Life San Francisco group celebrated the occasion on social media.
“VICTORY! The right to conduct life-saving pro-life activities outside SF abortion clinics during the Shelter-in-Place order was reaffirmed after negotiations with city attorneys,” the group wrote on Facebook.
The municipal change of heart followed the April 2 incident in which San Francisco police gave Ronald Konopaski, 86, a criminal citation for standing outside the Valencia Planned Parenthood abortion business, citing the city’s shelter-in-place order.
The order, which came into effect on March 17, allows for San Francisco residents to go outside to conduct “essential” activities, which include “caring for elderly, minors, dependents, persons with disabilities, or other vulnerable persons.”
According to Live Action, Konopaski was following social-distancing protocols outside the business with other pro-life witnesses, including Pro-Life San Francisco’s founder and president Terrisa Bukovinac and Matthew Prewett.
“Ron was at the clinic—as he has been for more than 10 years—to pray for women and offer them information about alternatives to abortion, including where to receive life-affirming medical care,” a representative of Life Legal explained.
After Konopaski received the citation, attorneys from Life Legal contacted the San Francisco city attorney’s office on behalf of the pro-life witnesses “whose right to free speech was squelched under the shelter in place order,” the foundation explained.
On April 3 Pro-Life San Francisco published a video of police approaching the pro-life witnesses. One officer told Bukinovac that “the constitutional right to protest and so forth has to take a back seat to the Health Order.” Afterwards, Bukinovac told the camera that many people in San Francisco are “hanging out” in parks that day and that she and her group felt that the police action “is discriminatory in nature” and that the city was “specifically targeting sidewalk counsellors.”
Bukinovac also reflected that abortion by its very nature is elective, but that despite the Health Order’s suspension of elective treatment, Planned Parenthood was permitted to continue peforming abortions.
“Abortion is the number one cause of death in America today,” she said.
“It is elective by definition, and yet this facility stays open against the stay-at-home order that put a moratorium on elective procedures.”
“We’re here to protest against that.”
Police took less of an interest in Konopaski when he was viciously assaulted outside the abortion business during 40 Days for Life last year. According to Life Legal, that even though its Senior Staff Counsel Allison Aranda, provided police with the identity and the location of Konopaski’s attacker, the San Francisco Police Department “did not take any meaningful steps to apprehend” his assailant.