Seven more pro-life advocates were arrested Monday for peacefully praying near a North Carolina abortion facility.
The Greensboro Police Department arrested the Christians as they stood near an abortion facility in Greensboro, praying and offering resources to people going inside, PJ Media reports. Allegedly, the pro-lifers violated a Guilford County mandate requiring people to stay at home except for essential needs.
The pro-life advocates are with the organization Love Life, which has been trying to abide by the social distancing mandates while still striving to save unborn babies from abortions.
Though abortions are not essential or life-saving, many states are allowing abortion facilities to remain open during the coronavirus pandemic. Meanwhile, non-essential medical procedures, travel, religious services and other activities are banned.
On Monday, Greensboro police arrested Justin Reeder, the founder of Love Life, Jason Oesterreich, Isaiah Burner, Leroy Stokes Jr., Andre Gonzalez, Richard Whittier and John Mcatee, according to the report. Three of the men also were arrested Saturday and a fourth cited while they were praying outside the abortion facility.
Videos of their outreach show the pro-lifers praying peacefully in a small group while maintaining at least 6-feet of space between each of them.
â€œThey were exercising their First Amendment rights [to] assemble and to exercise their religious beliefs,â€� said Steve Noble, a local radio host who witnessed the arrest Monday. â€œThey believe they are allowed to be there under the exemption clauses of the local county order.â€�
The pro-lifers were released from jail later Monday, according to the report. They said they plan to continue their outreach as long as abortion facilities remain open.
On his Facebook page, Noble criticized local government leaders for their extreme measures. He noted that the county even has a â€œStay At Home Violation Complaintsâ€� form on its website â€œencouraging its residents to rat each other out.â€�
â€œIs this just good public safety or big brother and manipulation?â€� he asked.
Love Life leaders said they respect the police and local authorities, and they have been trying to abide by the restrictions to keep people safe. However, they said they cannot give up their ministry as long as unborn babies’ lives are at stake.
â€œAt least 20 children were brought to that abortion center to be murdered [Saturday],â€� the pro-life organization said in a statement. â€œIf children are continuing to be murdered in these abortion centers, the Church must be present.â€�
Love Life encourages prayer and peaceful, respectful outreach to people outside abortion facilities. It centers its mission around the principle of â€œloving our neighborâ€� by offering resources and hope to mothers, fathers and their babies.
According to Love Life, pro-life sidewalk counselors helped save at least six unborn babies from abortion on Saturday in New York City and Charlotte.
â€œUntil the doors of abortion centers are closed, we are encouraging and challenging The Church and all Christians across this nation to start prayer walking individually at their local abortion centers where innocent lives are being taken,â€� the organization said. â€œLetâ€™s be diligent to practice social distancing while we prayer walk.â€¨â€�
Pro-life advocates in Ohio experienced a similar encounter with police last week. As they reached out to women at the Planned Parenthood abortion center in Columbus, Ohio â€” which is operating in defiance of a state mandate to stop non-essential medical procedures, a police officer threatened to cite people with the pro-life organization Created Equal for violating an emergency distancing mandate.
Action: Love Life encourages people to call the Greensboro Commissioners and respectfully ask them: â€œWhy is the city setting up a special enforcement zone on private property, next to the abortion center and not opposed to arresting people peacefully praying and following the law on private property? Abortions are not essential shut be shut down during these times. The only reason we are out there is because it’s open. If the non-essential abortion center is shut down, we would not be out there. Shut them down.â€�
Guilford County Chairman Jeff Phillips 336-337-2955 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Guilford County Vice Chair Alan Perdue 336-451-6707 email@example.com
Greensboro City Manager David Parrish 336-373-2002 David.parrish@greensboro-NC.gov
Greensboro Mayor Nancy Vaughan 336-373-2396 Nancy.vaughan@greensboro-Nc.gov