Sunday, August 01, 2010

Christians Arrested for Praying Near Abortion Clinic

Two Chicago-area men have been accused of "disorderly conduct" for standing on a public sidewalk outside an influential abortion business and praying, and the move appears to be a deliberate attempt by officials to intimidate Christians, according to a law firm.

UPDATE 8/4/10: Police drop charges

UPDATE 8/2/10 from "Praying Outside Clinic Gets Man Disorderly Conduct Charge" by Diane Macedo,

Joseph Holland, a 25-year-old graduate student at Northwestern University, says he was standing still praying the rosary outside a Planned Parenthood facility in downtown Chicago July 3 when police arrested him for violating the city's new "Bubble Zone" ordinance.

But Holland says he didn't approach or interfere with anyone.

"I tried to talk to the officer first and explain that the building doesn't have an 8-foot bubble and that I didn't talk to anyone," Holland said. "I said, 'I'm praying, I'm praying to God, not talking to people' and basically he said me praying was a type of approaching people and violated the bubble zone ordinance."

Chicago police spokesman Roderick Drew told that, according to the report, Holland "stood within an inch of the victim, prayed out loud at a high volume for over 10 minutes" but ultimately got arrested for blocking the entrance.

"The offender refused two requests to move, and continued to block customer access to the establishment after being asked to clear the entrance by the person in charge of the facility," he said.

To read the entire article, CLICK HERE.

From "Standing still, praying gets man 'disorderly conduct' rap" by Bob Unruh © 2010 WorldNetDaily 7/29/10

"This arrest was about one thing: trying to scare pro-life people away from Planned Parenthood," said Peter Breen, executive director and legal counsel for the Thomas More Society [TMS].

The organization is representing David Avignone and Joe Holland, whose "offense" was captured in a video.

The arrests were made because of Chicago's recently adopted "bubble" law that prevents approaching within eight feet of a person, without consent, "for the purpose of passing a leaflet or handbill to, displaying a sign to or engaging in oral protest, education or counseling."

Breen confirmed to WND Holland was engaged solely in prayer activity and not in leafleting, picketing or "sidewalk counseling." Holland was cuffed, taken into custody and booked at a police station for an offense that carries no possibility of jail time and is similar to offenses addressed by an officer handing out a citation.

To read the entire article, CLICK HERE.

From "Chicago’s ‘Bubble Zone’ Lands Praying Pro-Lifer in Court" by Peter J. Smith, 7/29/10

Breen and TMS have argued that the “Bubble Zone” ordinance is unconstitutional, and have even gained the support of the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois on that issue.

According to pro-life advocates with the Pro-Life Action League, police have previously misinterpreted the ordinance, getting their interpretation of the law from Planned Parenthood employees. In January, an officer told pro-life counselors that they could not come within eight feet of the Planned Parenthood doorway.

Again, in February one officer told sidewalk counselors not to come "within ten feet of the doorway ... that's panhandling."

Pro-Life Action League's projects coordinator, Corrina Gura, previously described the situation, saying that Planned Parenthood gives “the officers their version of what they wish the law said, then they ask the police to enforce their imaginary law."

To read the entire article, CLICK HERE.

Also read California Pastor Jailed for Standing near Abortion Clinic