Planned Parenthood
Anti-abortion protests over the last few weeks are causing great debate over whether stay-at-home orders apply to protesters.

As most of us are legally mandated to stay at home and flatten the coronavirus curve, some are pushing the limits on just what a stay-at-home order entails. In Charlotte, North Carolina, eight anti-abortion protestors were arrested in violation of the ban on mass gatherings put in place by Governor Roy Cooper, despite the fact that protesting is a Constitutionally-protected right. Police claim they weren't properly social distancing, and the protesters say they were. The arrests set off a firestorm of controversy, with debate on just where the line between public safety and Constitutional rights meet.

Eyewitnesses have differing accounts on if they were following public safety guidelines. Police said they arrived to find a large crowd of around 50 people gathered outside of a woman's health center in Charlotte. The “sidewalk counselors” were reportedly approaching patients without gloves or masks to pass out literature, ignoring social distancing guidelines. The executive director of the clinic, Calla Hales, called it a “public health nightmare”.

The police asked the crowd to leave because they were in violation of the order. Most of the large group left, but eight men who would not disband were arrested, including pro-life activist and former-HGTV star David Benham. There is a video of the arrest circulating online where he gives an impassioned speech to the arresting officer, saying that "we are an essential, federally recognized non-profit charity that helps at risk-mothers and babies”. 

Is Protesting Essential?

Benham has since made the rounds on the conservative media circuit, which attracted the attention and support of Senator Ted Cruz.

During his interviews, David Benham has said police were dishonest in their report of the group’s activities. According to his story, when he arrived at the scene there were only three people passing out literature, and two manning the trailer where they give women sonograms. He claims they were all social distancing and that they had the right to assemble there as a non-profit essential service.

Regardless of whether he was or wasn't properly social distancing, Benham isn't the only one who's made waves for protesting during coronavirus lockdown.

Pro-life activists were ticketed in Michigan on the grounds that they were violating Governor Gretchen Whitmer's stay-at-home order. But they took to more than Twitter to express their frustrations - they sued the state, citing religious discrimination. A U.S. district court actually sided with the protesters, despite the fact that most other public gatherings are currently banned in Michigan. Their attorneys took a victory lap, calling this a great victory for freedom: “It has been said that all tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent," the attorneys said. "During this current pandemic, we will not remain silent; we will remain vigilant.”

Critics have been critical of both groups of protesters, however, saying that going to abortion clinics to express their disgust simply should not supersede the greater public safety at all.

What do you think? Do you think the Constitutional right to free speech should take precedence over the emergency orders preventing group gatherings? And does it make sense to preach about saving the lives of the unborn while putting everyone else's life at risk to do so?

46 comments

  1. Kirk England's Avatar Kirk England

    Abortion clinics are still in operation despite stay-at-home orders - why? Abortion clinics kill babies. That’s guaranteed deaths! Some people protesting those guaranteed deaths and “possibly” spreading a virus that isn’t guaranteed to kill anybody - seems ok to me

    1. Tom's Avatar Tom

      Kirk...Respectfully...I have said this before...when you and the rest of the "pro-lifers" step up to adopt all of theunwanted children, then I will respect your point of view...until then, "pro-lifers" are hypocrites...Peace...Tom B

      1. Eric Thomas's Avatar Eric Thomas

        Tom, "both lazy and untrue"

        https://www.lifenews.com/2011/01/17/pro-life-people-care-for-women-and-children-after-birth-too/

        1. Robert T Wilson's Avatar Robert T Wilson

          Agreed. And to add, protestors are endangering themselves in this anti-choice/anti-woman vs pro-death debate. This is temporary. We all know this argument will go on forever. Think of this time as pause and reflect not endanger hundreds each

        2. Tom's Avatar Tom

          Eric...Respectfully, I do not know the nature of your quote...if it is literal, please advise if you are ready to adopt...Peace...Tom B

          1. Tom's Avatar Tom

            ULC/Joseph...for what possible reason would you delete my comment???????...Peace...Tom B

      2. Tom's Avatar Tom

        For the third time in a day, you have marked my comment "Delete Comment:...WHY???...

      3. Alexander Clarke's Avatar Alexander Clarke

        Tom: I have often wondered why the pro life folks value the unborn yet few step up and adopt the unwanted children.

      4. J Timothy Brown's Avatar J Timothy Brown

        Would selling these unwanted babies to the Cabal for the sacrifices or the adrenchrome harvest be a more acceptable way to dispose if them?

        1. Alexander Clarke's Avatar Alexander Clarke

          No but maybe they could be sold on Amazon

    2. Minister Mike's Avatar Minister Mike

      Probably not factual or true. Clinics do not kill or cure anyone. Neither do the doctors and/or nurses inside the buildings. A fetus is not a baby until born, so, nope, the staff inside abortion clinics don't kill babies.

    3. Leslie Renee Gray's Avatar Leslie Renee Gray

      The minute the pro life movement began to protest life saving efforts to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus and even expressed their willingness to sacrifice the lives of elders and disabled people by encouraging them to step forward and take a place in the workforce so that the young and healthy would not be endangered, thus potentially giving their lives for the sake of commerce the pro life movement revealed the lie that it is.

      Then, there's that whole scriptural "breath of life" issue that had to be taken into account that has been pointedly ignored for the sake of weaponizing objections to abortions as a means of suppressing a woman's right to decide her own medical care.

  1. Dan Anderson's Avatar Dan Anderson

    When these protesters use their "christianity" to spread disease and cause harm to others, I find this absolutely wrong.

    Some will also say that abortion clinics kill babies. No, they do not. They dispose of a fetus, which by law, is not a human being at all. Therefore, it is not murder. If you believe it should be illegal, why complain about it here? Why not write a bill and submit it to your government representative to make a difference in the laws? Take action for a change!

    If you are thinking of Planned Parenthood, they are not abortion clinics but health clinics necessary for many forms of medical care for both men and women. Abortion is less than 5% of all medical procedures performed.

    1. Patricia Ann Wileman's Avatar Patricia Ann Wileman

      Well do you homework a fetus is a baby. Do you realize there is birth control besides abortions and it’s much better because you’re not killing a baby. I’m 71 years old got married at 16 I went on birth control pills till I graduated from high school I was never pregnant till I chose to be pregnant with my husband. Why are all the idiots out there thinking abortion is birth control. There is way better birth control and way easier than I took at 16. I didn’t get pregnant by choice. But now the only way to not get a baby is oh kill it. Go put a rubber on your dick. They even have birth control for men. If you don’t want kids go get fixed. Even my father and his two brothers made a decision to have two kids each and they all 3 got a vasectomy. But now you don’t want kids just kill the baby I don’t matter how big it got in the womb. 

      1. Dorothy Belinda Williams's Avatar Dorothy Belinda Williams

        I'm all for birth control and family planning and I commend your candor but a fetus is not a baby. A baby can live outside the womb, a fetus cannot. There are very basic biological differences between the two. At your age you should know that.

  1. Eric Thomas's Avatar Eric Thomas

    The question of "Speech or Safety" is not exclusive to this particular situation.

    "Those who would trade liberty for security deserve neither." ~ Benjermin Franklin

    "If you sacrifice liberty for security you will lose both." ~ Ron Paul

  1. Summer Bree Nichols's Avatar Summer Bree Nichols

    I believe that the safety of others is important and we as Christians need to set a good example no one has the right to endanger others at this time ask yourself this question would god want you to knowling go out and put others peoples live in danger I don’t think so

  1. Nancy Arlene Christensen's Avatar Nancy Arlene Christensen

    Scott and Kirk, please read all above comments. Would be interested to know your definition of 'saving a life'. I'm assuming you are men, and I find it interesting that most anti-abortion protesters are male. Hope you never have unprotected sex when you're not trying to impregnate. Planned Parenthood is a clinic! that is essential. Not for profits are not essential. Planned Parenthood is not 'an abortion clinic' . They provide contraceptives to MEN and women, usually for free; as well as sonograms and many other services and have been doing so for decades. Unwanted pregnancies, for many reasons, will never go away. Never. Would you like to go back to times when women had abortions in alleys and apartments, or try to do it themselves? That is what will happen if abortions are outlawed.
    Anti-abortion people might want to consider putting more effort into contraceptive efforts, for both men and women. The protesters in this case were very irresponsible.

    1. Dan Anderson's Avatar Dan Anderson

      Nancy - It seems that, given that abortions are less than 5% of the services offered at clinics like Planned Parenthood, most people (yes, especially men) seem to not understand that they offer so much more in the line of medical treatments and healthcare for both women AND MEN.

      Thank you for posting valid information.

  1. Father Rick's Avatar Father Rick

    it's disgraceful and not very considerate of others.that's all i am going to say.be well stay safe. Pastor Rick

  1. Sunyata 's Avatar Sunyata

    I have been a ULC minister for 10 years and a mother for 7.

    Planned Parenthood is open because it’s healthcare!!!

    Women like me, go there for bi-annual check ups and personal birth control. I was so happy that Planned Paurenthood were able to give me a virtual appointment to renew my birth control for the year a few weeks ago.

    It’s not all about abortions. It’s about affordable women’s healthcare!

    I went to the January 22 Pro-life March in 2002 and have never seen so much misdirected hatred in my life. I used to consider myself pro-life, but after attending I found them all to be hypocritical. I know consider myself an ally for all life!

    Since then, I’ve march on Washington D.C. with ANSWER to demand an end of the war on Terror, which is creating more enemies than it is stopping. It’s giving too many of our troops PTSD and causing too many to commit suicide. Then I’ve marched again and again for action on Climate Change, for black lives matter, for PRIDE, and for women.

    These are the ways you can fight for all life, not just a fetus.

    We need to speak for the trees, and the animals that can’t speak for themselves. We fight for life when we support all people!

    That means fighting alongside indigenous peoples, women, LGBTQA, soldiers, people of color, orphans, foster children, people living with disabilities, and all people marginalized by the systematic racism and sexism ingrained in our government.

  1. Hazel Diane Graep's Avatar Hazel Diane Graep

    This is naughty Free Speech vs. Public Safety situation. The reason they were arrested had nothing to do with their right to free speech or what they were protesting. It had everything to do with them not practicing the social distancing required by the State Governors.

    Unless they were born under a rock, they had to know about the social distancing rules. If a person breaks the law, they should expect to be arrested. The only thing wrong that happened was the protesters not practicing social distancing. The police were in the right when they arrested them.

    The protesters are grasping at straws when they claim its religious persecution. Give me a break, they knew they were breaking the social distancing rules. Now they're trying to make up any excuse to get out of answering to the law for their blatant disrespect for said laws.

    1. Sidney Edgar Wing's Avatar Sidney Edgar Wing

      Social Distancing is not a "law" - it is a guideline issued by the Fed and then empowered by state/local governments by executive fiat. Please show me 1 state where the actual legislature of the state actually voted and made this a "law". Despots and Kings/Queens rule by executive fiat - the USA was NEVER designed to operate in that manner. We have a Constitution for a REASON.

      All of these governors/local politicians have now had a taste of "power" by using "emergency privileges". They will be loathe to relinquish that power. I foresee MANY upcoming court cases challenging the Constitutionality of these "orders" (some are already occurring - and I expect many more.

      As the US AG said, "The Constitution doesn't just get thrown out because of an emergency."

      1. Dan Anderson's Avatar Dan Anderson

        Sidney - When has the protection of its citizens, especially for health-related issues, been a problem? Are you claiming that a person's rights to be out in public with the potential of spreading a deadly disease to others should come before the well-being of a society?

        I do not know if you are old enough but I remember when the US Government mandated ALL CHILDREN receive the POLIO and SMALL POX vaccines before entering public schools. Was that against the rights of the students and their parents, too? Did that take away any of the rights you seem to think has happened?

        This is no different. COVID-19 is a deadly disease. Actions need to be taken to protect the citizenry of the United States and all countries around the world. Do you really think that the right to spread disease is more important?

        1. Sidney Edgar Wing's Avatar Sidney Edgar Wing

          You "quarantine" the sick and those "most at risk". THAT is how a "quarantine" works. You do NOT lock everyone in their home, destroy businesses, and force everyone to live off the government dole.

          The right to LIVE FREELY - is absolutely THE most important right.

          As for your POLIO and SMALL POX argument - there are "exceptions" to THOSE as well.

          COVID-19 is NOT a "deadly disease" to over 98% of the world population. It is "fear mongering" like that that has caused this issue to begin with. Protect the sick and most vulnerable - by quarantine/isolation - and let the REST of the WORLD carry on.

  1. Norbert Roy Laengrich's Avatar Norbert Roy Laengrich

    " Woe to them that call good, evil and to those that call evil, good" Hospitals laying off staff, because most surgeries, and other elective medical treatment is ruled "nonessential" and no longer performed unless and absolute emergency. Yet abortion clinics ruled "essential" and allowed to operate, even thought there are many successful birth control options available to prevent pregnancy. The only excuse for unwilling getting pregnant today is rape. So, limit abortions to the same guidelines as other illnesses. Abortion after a rape is "essential" and all others is "Non-essential".

    Then, ban demonstrations by anti-abortion advocates during the Covid-19 crisis.

  1. Pastor Susie Timlick's Avatar Pastor Susie Timlick

    I suggest that you check the news there's over 30,000 people whose deaths have occurred because of Coronavirus and that number is expected to potentially exponentially quadruple and sadly more before this is over. Once again we need to stay out of people's individual Lives who may facing one of the most critical difficult decisions in their lifetime. The Groups like Panned Parenthood who are ostracized for their services. Their buildings burned. Patients requiring services struck injured. And let's not forget those who provide the services have died for it. Because of fanatical individuals you have the right to think how they feel but they need to keep it in their own home or and unacceptable venue queer rights and lives are not placed in danger. And buying danger I mean being out on the street with this death causing virus ignoring health professionals serious advice to stay away from each other and stay home. Have a question for you how do you know your contact with those people who are pregnant who are continuing their pregnancies if they get the virus because you were out there interfering with him what about if your actions take a devastating it turn on that baby. Think people in the name of God think. Pastor Susie

    1. Dan Anderson's Avatar Dan Anderson

      Susie - Sadly, as of May 14th, less than a month from your post, the 300,000 death mark has been reached.

      It seems that the individual rights are more important than societal health and welfare, according to some thinkers. This is why they condemn organizations like Planned Parenthood and other medical clinics who help people with so many health-related services.

  1. Pastor Susie Timlick's Avatar Pastor Susie Timlick

    my book post needs a correction and since I can't figure out how to go back in and edit what my phone says instead of what I say quote it should be an acceptable venue as per their rights... And buy buy danger. My deep apologies for my phone and it's autocorrect feature. But you get the message from what I've spoken about. Thank you for reading it if you do thank you for agreeing if you do and thank you for disagreeing if you do because we all have the right to agree to disagree but not to act in such ways against one another. And I'm confident that HE would not find it appropriate either.. and I'm humble enough to say if I'm wrong on that last little line it's between him and I and when everything rolls over he'll let me know then. Peace and prayers Pastor Susie ✝️🙏🧓

  1. Pastor Susie Timlick's Avatar Pastor Susie Timlick

    my above post needs a correction and since I can't figure out how to go back in and edit what my phone says instead of what I say quote it should be an acceptable venue as per their rights... And buy buy danger. My deep apologies for my phone and it's autocorrect feature. But you get the message from what I've spoken about. Thank you for reading it if you do thank you for agreeing if you do and thank you for disagreeing if you do because we all have the right to agree to disagree but not to act in such ways against one another. And I'm confident that HE would not find it appropriate either.. and I'm humble enough to say if I'm wrong on that last little line it's between HIM and I and when everything rolls over up younder He'll let me know then. Peace and Prayers Pastor Susie ✝️🙏🧓

  1. Stewart's Avatar Stewart

    Its like shouting tire in a theater yes you have free speech but there are limits when it comes to the rights of others and or the public in general . You have no right to endanger me or anyone else .

    There is a health hazard that effects everyone you contact and each person they subsequently contact look up the articles about the huge numbers of infected from those attending a funeral .

    you have no right to chance infecting others .

    https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/30/us/coronavirus-funeral-albany-georgia.html

    1. Pastor Susie Timlick's Avatar Pastor Susie Timlick

      Thank you Stuart even with all of the media and social medias in put some people just refuse to get it God bless your wise and caring heart thank you Pastor Susie

  1. Clay Serenbetz's Avatar Clay Serenbetz

    These protesters are hypocrites: they spread COVID-19 which kills, so they really don't value life. Instead they value their false Gods.

  1. JKM's Avatar JKM

    They don’t know they aren’t really “pro-life,” do they?

    1. Dan Anderson's Avatar Dan Anderson

      JKM - Maybe the better term might be "Pre-birth" as it seems after the fetus becomes a baby, then they do not seem to give a crud about them, demanding cutbacks in medical healthcare for neo-natal and pediatric treatments.

  1. Scott T Scalf's Avatar Scott T Scalf

    Saving the life of the innocent unborn is always top priority.

    1. Dan Anderson's Avatar Dan Anderson

      Scott - Why is it "always top priority"? They are not yet people, so how do you classify it so?

      What about those who miscarry, which happens many, many times. Should the pregnant mother be charged with attempted murder, then?

  1. Minister Mike's Avatar Minister Mike

    There is a reason the three basic concepts guaranteed by the Constitution are not in alphabetical order. Life takes precedence over Liberty which takes precedence over Pursuit of Happiness.

    If those protesters want to commit suicide - that's their right (Pursuit of Happiness) and I'd be happy to donate a few boxes of bullets or a couple hundred feet of sturdy rope, but it does not confer on them the right to spread a killing disease.

  1. Rev Ned's Avatar Rev Ned

    If they want to meet God, let em.

  1. Beth's Avatar Beth

    I could agree with that, except that before they get sick, they will have plenty of other opportunities to infect other members of their community - many of whom had nothing to do with this or any protest or large gathering. They don't just take themselves out, but on average, each new case will infect about 3 more people.

  1. Sidney Edgar Wing's Avatar Sidney Edgar Wing

    All of these conversations seem to show a common fear - fear of a virus that has a better than 95% survive-ability. The common "feel" of these conversations is - "If you come in contact with someone with this virus, it's an automatic death sentence". Except... it isn't... Unless you are in the "more vulnerable" category - you will get sick - it will, indeed, SUCK! I watched my son's entire family (him, my DIL, and my two grandchildren) go through it. Complete with the "pink eye" symptom as well. End result: all 4 are fine. They were diagnosed via antibody testing - because they had this in JANUARY after returning from a trip to NYC. (And yes, my son and DIL have already donated blood for use/testing)

    My grand-nephew IS among the MOST vulnerable to this virus. His family took ALL the precautions for isolating. He STILL got it. They can only assume that one of his home healthcare workers was the source. Meanwhile - two weeks later - he is, also, back to his normal (for him) self. Was he admitted to the hospital? Yes. He was there for 2 days - isolated from his family and friends. Once he was medically stabilized - they returned him to his family (as they were already "presumed" to be exposed). Home healthcare is now, finally, able to return to help care for him because the family is now past the quarantine period (and yes, the whole family had antibody testing - and yes, they all had it).

    I realize that "your mileage may vary" on this virus - depending on circumstances/medical conditions - but the bottom line in the REALISTIC world is this - this virus is NOT an automatic death sentence. It is, actually, not even CLOSE to an automatic death sentence.

    Have people died as a result of it - yes. Is it dangerous for immuno-compromised individuals and the elderly? Yes.

    And before people start in on the whole "you don't care about people dying" rant - check yourself. People are dying - every single day - and NOT just from this virus. Death - is horrible - especially if it could have been prevented. But you don't close the whole world down in an effort to "quarantine" - you "quarantine" the sick and the most vulnerable. This is NOT a "quarantine" - this is a "lock down".

    If you are among the most vulnerable - stay home, stay safe. If you are not - don't go visiting/getting in the personal space of the most vulnerable. This country's reaction to this "pandemic" has gone much further than it ever needed to. Government overreach abounds and becomes more pronounced on a daily basis - and now that those "in power" have had a taste of "real power" granted via "emergency permissions" - they are loathe to give it up.

    "Power Corrupts and Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely".

    I'm done. Feel free to flame/rant/delete/what-have-you

    1. Dan Anderson's Avatar Dan Anderson

      Sidney -

      Yes, there is between a 3-5% death rate of all who come down with COVID-19. No big deal, according to your writing. The fatality rate for influenza is far less than that, yet it kills more than 100,000 people a year.

      Are you comfortable with hundreds of thousands of people dying from this horrific malady? In under a month, deaths went from 30,000 to over 300,000 from COVID-19. Does this not alarm you at all?

      Yes, there are people who survive. I am happy your family and any friends you may have survived it. I am also saddened by those hundreds of thousands of family members who have lost members because people thought "I have no symptoms so I am not spreading it." When this disease takes up to two weeks to become symptomatic, that tells me too many people are ignorant and causing undue suffering and death.

      1. Lionheart's Avatar Lionheart

        There will be a remarkable drop in influenza deaths this year, and also Natural Causes, because it pays hospitals to add Covid-19 to the death certificate due to the money they will get from the government. $13,000 for each death, and if a ventilator is used $39,000.

        The symptoms of people dying of COPD are so close to those of Covid-19 that I suspect COPD deaths will also be down this year as well. It will be very interesting to do a fact-check at the end of the year to see if there is a rate drop on many deaths that are normally attributed to other causes.

        🦁♥️

  1. Michelle's Avatar Michelle

    They SHOULD be arrested! These people who are so quick to think that they speak for God have shown nothing more than ego and hubris. (Just in case a person reading this doesn’t know the difference). These people think they’re “fighting for God” have become so misguided & still presume to call themselves followers of Christ. I guarantee that if Jesus were alive in these times, they’d crucify him again themselves. I u dear tans that this is “taught behavior”, just like racism. Sorry to make the analogy but true. There are medical reasons that they know nothing about. God is love. Remember.... ? Smh

  1. Richard Lee Cornell's Avatar Richard Lee Cornell

    It is God Will for them to died of this Plague. More the better. They can take that they have done what they believe is right even if it is wrong.
    If this plague is of Gods Will then so was Small Pox, Polio, and and our favorite Tuberculosis.
    Planned Parenthood serves women. They give women rights. Most religions deal in numbers and where women are but mere tools of Pastors who see their flock grow by the numbers. No matter what will be born. If you want to see what God creates visit on line the Shiners Hospital in Chicago.

  1. Richard Lee Cornell's Avatar Richard Lee Cornell

    Want to find out about virus try these. TWiV # 581. Then there is Vincent Racaniello lecture 2020. He is closer to God than a bunch of Holy Rollers.

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