Planned Parenthood clinics have been exposed by recent video footage to be offering advice to inquiring undercover inquirers how to circumvent federal sex trafficking laws. In response, next Monday on Valentine's Day, Planned Parenthood clinics throughout Illinois and the nation will be sites where "Vigils for Victims" will be held from noon until 1 P.M.
If any legal challenges to individual protests arise, the Thomas More Society based in Chicago is offering a legal counsel hotline for anyone needing help Monday to exercise his or her First Amendment right of free speech and assembly.
CHICAGO -- In response to a request by the "Expose Planned Parenthood" coalition, the Thomas More Society today issued guidelines for participants in Monday's national "Vigils for Victims" demonstrations which will take place from noon until 1 p.m. outside Planned Parenthood locations across the United States. The Thomas More Society also announced that it is establishing a nationwide hotline to provide legal counsel and assistance during the vigils.
The vigils are intended to bear witness to the plight of underage victims of sex trafficking, in light of undercover videos recently released by a youth-led California group, Live Action, which showed that Planned Parenthood managers and intake personnel at clinics in New Jersey, Virginia, New York, and the District of Columbia were willing to aid and abet actors who identified themselves as a pimp and prostitute and requested help in securing secret abortions and other services for underage teenage girls, some of whom were said to be from other countries, and whom they were "managing" as part of a sex ring.
Tom Brejcha, president and chief counsel of the Thomas More Society, explains, "We urge that citizens participating in these Vigils for Victims of sex trafficking not hesitate to engage in a robust, fully lawful exercise of their First Amendment rights on public rights of way near Planned Parenthood centers. But we also advise that protesters always be courteous, calm and composed, avoiding confrontations with police or opponents. On the other hand, if demonstrators believe that a police officer may be suppressing their fundamental rights to carry on a vigorous and peaceable protest, we recommend that they politely ask the officer for a citation to the ordinance or law invoked and ask for his or her name and badge number. We will then pursue the matter with higher authorities and take it to court, if warranted. This has proved to be a winning formula as in this way we're on offense, not on defense, nobody has to go to jail unnecessarily, and we have a better opportunity to convince the authorities to respect pro-lifers' rights."