Saturday, November 4, 2017

Pro-Life activities continue outside abortion clinic despite NY attorney general lawsuit:Thomas More Society protects church members against unwarranted harassment

Brooklyn, NY – A group of pro-life advocates with Church @ The Rock in Brooklyn, New York, will continue their activities outside a Jamaica, New York, abortion clinic uninterrupted, despite unfounded accusations by an abortion-supporting Attorney General. 
Thomas More Society attorneys are defending ten of fourteen peaceful pro-life sidewalk counselors named by New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman in a federal lawsuit that accuses them of threats and violence against abortion clinic patients. 
Martin Cannon, Thomas More Society Special Counsel, explained, “Our clients will continue praying for and offering alternatives to women seeking abortions at Choices Women’s Medical Center, and they will do so without the State's interference, despite AG Schneiderman’s attempts to stop them with a preliminary injunction founded on baseless claims.” 
Cannon expects that the pro-life sidewalk counselors will prevail at trial, having already won the motion to consolidate the preliminary injunction hearing with the full trial of the case in January 2018.
Schneiderman’s lawsuit, filed in June, was seeks an end to what he claims is “a weekly pattern of threatening, obstructive and violent activity by a network of anti-abortion protestors.” He called the church members’ efforts to counsel women considering abortion and to advocate for the rights of the unborn, “horrifying” and “illegal.”
“Our clients are life-affirming Christians who peacefully counsel women considering abortion. They conduct themselves reasonably and compassionately. They offer information and alternatives to those willing to listen, and otherwise express themselves appropriately on the public sidewalk.” stated Cannon. He noted that the Thomas More Society clients are members of Church @ The Rock in Brooklyn, a congregation that has been witnessing for life outside of the abortion facility, weekly, since 2012.
Schneiderman’s support of the abortion industry is well publicized. In April he openly opposed any defunding of Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers, proclaiming, “I was proud to lead a coalition of attorneys general in filing an amicus brief against the Ohio state law that would defund Planned Parenthood.” 
When he announced his lawsuit against our clients, he proudly proclaimed that he has been a part of the abortion movement since he was seventeen years old and dropped out of school to work in a clinic much like the one at the center of the case. 
Read background on the Thomas More Society involvement with People v. Griepp et al here.
The Thomas More Society is a national not-for-profit law firm dedicated to restoring respect in law for life, family, and religious liberty. Headquartered in Chicago and Omaha, the Thomas More Society fosters support for these causes by providing high quality pro bono legal services from local trial courts all the way up to the United States Supreme Court. For more information, visit

PJI confronts school district on collusion with newspaper to violate student privacy with sex survey

Fresno, CA—Attorneys with Pacific Justice Institute are calling for investigation, apologies to parents, and other remedial steps after the Fresno Unified School District allowed a reporter to violate privacy and parental notification laws.

PJI detailed its concerns last week in a letter to the Superintendent and school board members of Fresno USD.  This spring, a reporter for the Fresno Bee was given access to Fresno high school students on campus.  The reporter quizzed the minors on what they were learning about sex education, particularly with regard to abortion and LGBT issues.  The survey ended by directly asking students whether they have had sex and/or unprotected sex. 

Both state and federal law require that parents be notified and given an opportunity to object before surveys are given to students that probe their beliefs or practices in areas such as sex, religion, politics, or family life.  According to the parents who contacted PJI, no attempt was made to follow the law. 

Despite the dubious manner in which answers to the surveys were obtained, the Bee published the results of the survey, and even quoted several minor students by name, on October 20.

The PJI letter notes that the District’s failure to protect students and parents could lead to severe consequences such as the loss of federal funding.  PJI is therefore calling on the District to take a number of steps to correct the violation.

Brad Dacus, president of Pacific Justice Institute, commented, “Convincing a school district to allow the violation of student privacy and parental rights in order to sell newspapers is a new low for the mainstream media.  These laws exist to protect family privacy, and they were blatantly disregarded.  We expect a genuine apology to parents and a genuine commitment to change in order for the District to avoid further legal consequences.”

Parents of high school students within Fresno Unified should contact PJI for assistance in determining whether their rights were violated.