The City of Greensboro, North Carolina has recently admitted to having violated the First Amendment rights of a group of pro-life activists. The protesters were arrested in 2020 while praying outside of an abortion clinic within the city limits. After Love Life – the organization to which the activists belong – filed a lawsuit against the city, a settlement was reached, and the City of Greensboro admitted that the pro-lifers had been exercising their Constitutional right to freedom of speech and assembly at the moment of their arrest.
Now, the city is admitting its error, agreeing that the pro-lifers had in fact been arrested for the “exercise of constitutionally protected First Amendment rights.” (Live Action)
The city claims that the pro-life activists had been arrested for violating health mandates put in place during the pandemic – which was in full swing at the time. The group was accused of gathering more than 10 individuals, an allegation that proved to be false. Other accusations leveled against them included going to Greensboro from outside the town and driving, instead of walking, into the city. None of these restrictions were found to be part of the city’s pandemic-time health ordinances.
Despite the fact that the pro-lifers had followed mandates, including masking and limiting their group to less than 10 members, they were told that their First Amendment rights were not allowed at that time. They were also told that their arrest was due to the fact that they arrived in the city by car instead of on foot, and that they arrived from outside the county — though these restrictions weren’t noted anywhere in public health mandates. (Live Action)
The City of Greensboro’s recognition of the violation of Love Life workers’ Constitutional rights is a timely development. The United States Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation have targeted a number of pro-life activists in the recent past and continue to do so. Candidates to congressional and gubernatorial positions have pointed out – during their midterm election debates – the fact that zero pregnancy center firebomb attackers have been prosecuted.