I wish I was making this up:
The Department of Justice is now prosecuting a 79-year-old grandfather. The reason: Richard Retta walks alongside women on the sidewalk outside a Planned Parenthood abortion facility [in Washington, DC] and offers women hope that they can carry their babies to term.
Obama’s DOJ claims that Retta’s sidewalk counseling violates the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act, enacted by Congress in 1994. In a July 2011 complaint, the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division says that Retta violated federal law because he “walks very closely beside patients” as they enter the clinic. It also claims that Retta follows them when they leave. [National Review]
But actually, the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act allows people to walk besides patients who are coming and going, as long as they are on a public sidewalk (which was the case here, Retta’s lawyers claim). More than that, the Act actually protects what Retta was doing, because it specifically rules out “prohibiting any expressive conduct (including peaceful picketing or other peaceful demonstrations)”.
What is even more absurd is the fact that the US Department of Justice is suing Retta for $10,000 plus $15,000 in fines to his “victim”. Where is a 79-year-old grandfather supposed to come up with that sort of money?! The lawsuit also wants to prohibit all other pro-lifers who work with him to be prohibited from standing within 20 feet of the Planned Parenthood gate — even if they are on a public sidewalk.
Hans A. Von Spakovsky tells us more about Retta’s life-saving record:
Nearly 350 women have kept their children because of conversations Retta personally had with them. He deserves thanks for saving hundreds of lives and making abortion rarer. Proponents of abortion claim that one of their goals is to reduce the number of abortions, yet Retta is being attacked by the Obama Justice Department because of his very success in persuading women to make life-giving choices.
I’ve walked by this Planned Parenthood location in Washington, DC. The White House is right down the street from it. This sort of injustice against Retta should not be tolerated within sight of the President of a free country. Free Speech is the greatest threat to abortion and abortion advocates know it: because they will do anything to silence the truth.
Including going after an elderly man like Mr. Retta.