NEW YORK (LifeSiteNews) — The American Freedom Law Center (AFLC) filed a federal civil rights lawsuit last Friday against the attorney general of New York for unlawfully, falsely disparaging peaceful pro-lifers as “terrorists.”
The suit was filed in defense of Monica Miller and Suzanne Abdalla, who volunteer with Red Rose Rescue, a pro-life group whose participants enter the waiting rooms of abortion centers to offer red roses and life-affirming alternatives to women planning to kill their unborn babies.
During a press conference held by New York’s Democratic Attorney General, Letitia James, to announce the filing of a civil lawsuit against Red Rose Rescue and several pro-lifers for an injunction to block the group from protesting within 30 feet of abortion mills, James branded the group’s members as “terrorists” without evidence to support the claim.
“It is my duty and my honor and my responsibility to keep individuals safe from terrorists, and that’s what they are,” she said in reference to Red Rose Rescue, as The Washington Times reported.
James’ lawsuit, however, does not accuse the group or associated pro-lifers of terrorism, which AFLC noted is because “there are no facts to support such a claim of criminality.”
One of the plaintiffs in AFLC’s lawsuit, Miller, a co-founder and spokesperson of Red Rose Rescue, told LifeSiteNews that James’ “terrorist” claim is a “total propaganda lie – born from sheer pro-abortion politics.”
“Those who participate in Red Rose Rescues are quiet, loving and completely peaceful,” Miller said in a statement. “Terrorism doesn’t save babies from abortion – love saves babies from abortion – and Red Rose Rescuers are committed to acts of love.”
Miller pointed out that the Red Rose Rescue code of conduct requires members to “refrain from violence of any kind” and to avoid “profanity, cursing, yelling, screaming, or loud arguing.”
“James should read the code before she spouts off her pro-abortion mischaracterization of those who want to help women and save innocent human beings from violent extermination,” Miller told LifeSiteNews. “The abortion she supports is the real terrorism – terrorism carved into the crushed bodies of the aborted unborn.”
AFLC argued in its lawsuit that James has violated the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution as well as New York law through her accusations.
“Plaintiff Miller’s pro-life activities include praying, distributing literature, holding pro-life signs, and counselling women on public sidewalks outside of abortion centers throughout the United States. These activities are fully protected by the First and Fourteenth Amendments,” states the lawsuit.
The suit further argues that James’ “false and defamatory statements also have a chilling effect on Plaintiffs’ rights to freedom of speech and expressive association.”
The suit states:
Defendant James’ labeling of those who associate with Red Rose Rescue as “terrorists” is grotesque and absurd on its face; it is reckless in the extreme; it harms Plaintiffs’ public reputation; and it is an unconstitutional dereliction of Defendant James’ sworn duty to uphold the United States and New York Constitutions and to provide equal justice under the law to all persons and organizations regardless of their religious beliefs and views.
David Yerushalmi, AFLC co-founder and senior counsel, slammed James’ allegations as “particularly egregious” considering her office:
New York Attorney General Letitia James, like many left-wing progressives in positions of power, has weaponized her office to target private citizens who oppose abortion on religious grounds. As the chief law enforcement officer of the state, her false and defamatory statements are particularly egregious as she has a sworn duty to uphold the law and to provide equal justice under the law to all persons and organizations regardless of their religious beliefs and views on abortion.
Fellow co-founder and senior counsel of AFLC Robert Muise added:
With no hint of irony, Attorney General James turns a blind eye to the ongoing and destructive violent crime ravaging the streets of New York and instead uses the resources of her office to attack and defame individuals who abhor violence, including the violence of abortion.
AFLC’s lawsuit seeks $5 million in compensatory and punitive damages.
Red Rose Rescuers, whose mission includes accepting consequences of standing up for the rights of the unborn, have repeatedly faced criminal prosecutions, convictions, and even jail time for their attempts to defend innocent life.