Friday June 4, 2010

D.C. Prohibits Prayer and Free Speech on Sidewalk outside Planned Parenthood

D.C. police officers have threatened to arrest people praying and counseling on the public sidewalk in front of Planned Parenthood.

WASHINGTON, June 4, 2010 ( – For many years, the pro-life community has been allowed to pray, counsel and have a peaceful witness on the public property surrounding the Planned Parenthood Clinic in Washington, D.C.

Several weeks ago Planned Parenthood put up a fence around that public property, and police are now threatening to arrest anyone who stands inside that fence.

Calling the move an “unconstitutional crushing of prayer and free speech,” the Christian Defense Coalition is challenging the new policy and has applied for a permit to hold a prayer vigil on the public sidewalk leading up to Planned Parenthood.

That prayer vigil will take place on Tuesday, June 8, at 11:00 A.M. at Planned Parenthood 1108 16th St. NW Washington, D.C.

Faith leaders have said they will risk arrest before they surrender their First Amendment rights or allow prayer to be banned on the public sidewalk in the heart of our nation’s capitol.

The Christian Defense Coalition and their supporters are being represented by the American Center for Law and Justice.

“It is both disturbing and a disgrace that prayer and free speech have been banned and prohibited here in our nation’s capitol,” stated Rev. Patrick J. Mahoney, Director of the Christian Defense Coalition, on Friday.

The public area outside Planned Parenthood has served for years as a place of prayer for pro-lifers in the nation’s capital, often hosting a crowd of prayer witnesses and sidewalk counselors from the nearby Christendom College on Saturdays.

Mahoney says that, despite the fence and “private property” sign, “that sidewalk and property still remain public.”

“Our hope is that the city of Washington, D.C. will honor and respect the First Amendment and allow us to celebrate our free speech rights in the nation’s capitol,” said Mahoney. “However, even if we are threatened with arrest and taken to jail we will not be bullied or intimidated into silence or surrender.

“When free speech and public prayer are banned and prohibited, it is the duty of people of faith to peacefully challenge that injustice and boldly take a stand.”