A city’s attempt to privatize a public sidewalk to protect the abortionists at the West Alabama Women’s Center in Tuscaloosa has failed.
The clinic now must allow speech by pro-life protesters that is protected by the Constitution.
The complaint was filed by the Thomas More Society on behalf of several pro-life activists who protested on the public walks outside the center for years.
City officials abruptly informed them the must obtain a permit to engage in prayer and advocacy.
“When they showed up on the public sidewalk without a permit (which they have done for many years) police officers appeared and threatened them with arrest if they didn’t leave,” Thomas More explained.
But after society lawyers Martin Cannon and Sam McClure met with city officials, the city dropped a requirement that any individual counseling in the public right of way must obtain a permit.
Second, city officials reversed their claim that cars had priority over people on the sidewalk, installing a steel barrier to exclude vehicles.
Third, it dropped plans for exclusive one-week permits that would allow abortionists to exclude pro-life advocates from the public walkway.
“Those speaking out against abortion must have the same access to the public right of way as those promoting it,” said Cannon. “Overt interference with a lawful assembly is illegal. The public, peaceful assembly of individuals or small groups at the site doesn’t rise to a level supporting a permit requirement. It is the root of American democracy to protect this right to an open public forum.
“Because of the prompt and forceful involvement of Thomas More attorneys, the city of Tuscaloosa realized it cannot make pro-life advocates jump through hoops to exercise their constitutionally protected rights. Over 100 children are aborted weekly at West Alabama Women’s Center – more than are born alive in Tuscaloosa County during that same period. If the members of Prolife Tuscaloosa want to educate consumers about that and pray for it to stop – they have the right to do so, and the Thomas More Society is here to defend them.”
There have been numerous other attempts by abortion interests to restrict pro-lifers’ access to public sidewalks.
Also in Tuscaloosa, the University of Alabama ordered a street preacher to shut up because he was on public sidewalks in the campus.
In Huntsville, Alabama, Planned Parenthood tried to eliminate the presence of pro-lifers by using cow bells, car horns and loud-speakers to drown out their message.
The pro-lifers, as a result, use a megaphone to try to reach the women who are entering the business.
Even though the device was tested below the sound limit for the city, longtime sidewalk counselor Alison Harris, 66, was arrested while “she prayed and tried to persuade parents to choose life for their preborn children.”
In court, she was found not guilty.