An organization that seeks to abolish abortion outright is suing the City of Grants Pass, Oregon, in federal court.
Ray Hacke is an attorney with Pacific Justice Institute, the law firm representing Abolish Abortion Oregon. "Two lawsuits were filed on behalf of [AAOR], which is a loose-knit group of Christians from throughout the state who travel around the state to call for the abolition of abortion," Hacke explains.
According to the Oregon-based attorney, Abolish Abortion Oregon conveys its message through various methods, including open-air preaching, passing out tracts, initiating civil conversations, and displaying pro-life signs. He adds that the group often preaches its message on public sidewalks near abortion providers' places of business, including a Planned Parenthood facility in Grants Pass, as well as other public places.
"Pretty much every time they show up there, the police show up to try to shut them down," says Hacke. "If they're using amplification, the police tell them they can't use amplification; and if they're not using amplification, the police tell them they're still being too loud."
In one case, according to Hacke, a 14-year-old boy who was sitting in a lawn chair and holding a sign was cited for obstructing traffic. "There was another incident where one of the members was cited for disorderly conduct," Hacke adds.
"... Both of those cases were dismissed; they weren't even prosecuted,” he notes, “but still, every time they show up the police try to do something to silence them."
Hacke adds that that’s the treatment the group gets not just at the Planned Parenthood facility, but also at festivals and other events.
"County fair authorities set up a free-speech area and limited people there. They couldn't use amplification, they couldn't hold signs, they put restrictions on them that they did not put on the vendors at the fair," the attorney describes. "So, basically it was a content- and speaker-based restriction … and so it kind of infringed on their constitutional right.
"I understand their message might not be popular … but that doesn't mean that police can come shut them down," Hacke concludes. "They are peaceful and have the right to speak freely."
OneNewsNow is seeking comment from the City of Grants Pass.