Pastor arrested in public property dispute at Planned Parenthood

I wrote last week that Rev. Pat Mahoney of the Christian Defense Coalition was planning to challenge the constitutionality of a fence Planned Parenthood located 4 blocks from the White House in Washington, DC, had erected around what is thought to be public property.

The City denied Mahoney a permit to protest and pray in front of the mill today, but he went anyway...

rev mahoney 1.png

Next, according to Congress.org this afternoon...

For years, anti-abortion groups have stood outside [the] PP... making last-minute attempts to stop women from having abortions....

Then PP built a fence around and put up signs saying trespassers are not allowed on the lawn outside the building. They received a city permit to do so, but anti-abortion groups say that lawn and the walkway leading up to the clinic are public property....

Police arrested Mahoney for unlawful entry, but not before calling their superiors to determine that the fenced area is private property....

rev mahoney slide 2.png

As media crews filmed Mahoney's arrest, PP workers pointed video cameras out of the building to do the same....

rev mahoney slide 3.png

"We're not blocking what they want to say. We're preventing them from trespassing onto private property," said Diane Quest, a PP spokeswoman. She said the fence was built to protect patients....

Mahoney plans to sue the city saying that his First Amendment rights are being violated and issue a national call for activists to come pray inside the fence.

"This is just the beginning," he said....

See good coverage, including video, of the arrest at Bound4Life.com. See photos and read more coverage at the Rock for Life blog.

Rev. Mahoney's lawyer just notified Erik Whittington of R4L that he was being released from jail.

[Still shots via video at Bound4Life.com]


Comments:

I have never had the opportunity to meet Pat Mahoney but I know he is a well sesoned veteran in the struggle to re-establish the pre-natal child to his/her rightful place in the family of man.

Mahoney has truly suffered for righteousness sake, for the sake of the kingdom of God, as a christian and for the Name of Jesus.

GO Pat.

Posted by: yor bro ken at June 8, 2010 9:59 PM


So "public property" extends to the door of a home or business? It seems to me that the owner of the property, where Planned Parenthood is located, have every right to put up a fence and restrict entry to their property as any property owner would.

Posted by: Maevis at June 9, 2010 8:34 AM


Posted by: Maevis at June 9, 2010 8:34 AM

As I understand it, though, they don't actually own that property. And, of course, this demonstration was put on to challenge them, legally, on exactly this point. If the sidewalk in question is public property, then PP has no right to restrict anyone from walking on it, so long as they're not blocking the door. PP, with their fence, is claiming they have that right, and by deliberately ignoring that (and getting arrested, although I doubt that was a feature of the plan so much as an accepted risk of it), there is now grounds to sue PP for having someone wrongfully arrested, for barring public access to a public sidewalk...

All of which is fairly obvious, actually. PP had to know this was coming, but they built the fence anyway. Which makes me suspect that the demonstrations outside this mill were really hurting its business.

Posted by: Keli Hu at June 9, 2010 9:48 AM


As I posted last time, the District of Columbia Zoning Map puts the District boundary, not only right up to the front door of the Planned Parenthood lot, but right up to the front door of every building in that square. They may have gotten a permit for the fence, but I doubt they have permission to have a Private Property sign.

Posted by: Cranky Catholic at June 9, 2010 9:49 AM


I was at this event. Planned Parenthood told the police officer that the property inside the fence is their private property. Remember, this is the same organization who kills preborn children, lies and manipulates women/mothers, covers-up child abuse / rapists, accepts donations from racists, hands out books to preteen girls encouraging all forms of sexual immorality and pushes sex education to 5 year olds via public school. I'm sure a little lie here or there regarding property rights isn't going to keep them up at night.

If we give them an inch, they will take a mile. It is time we draw a line in the sand. You cannot squat on public property. Too bad, so sad!

Posted by: Erik Whittington at June 9, 2010 10:09 AM


So if I am to learn anything from Planned Parenthood its that you can automatically enlarge your property line simply by building a fence wherever you want and then adding a sign. Won't my neighbors be thrilled!

Posted by: Sydney M. at June 9, 2010 10:41 AM


I also was at the event Erik, though disappointed with the turn out.

I haven't seen it mentioned here so I thought I would add my understanding of the situation. The grassy area is considered real property to PP by annexation through the fence. The sidewalk (inside the fence) falls under easement but for the purpose of the annexation it's included.

Basicly, PP owns the building and the city owns the land from the street to the building. PP is leasing this land from the city. The city could at any time cancel the lease if, for example, they wanted to widen the road or sidewalk.

So while it is public property (in that the city owns it), it isn't open to the public right of way.

By erecting the fence, PP is signaling a desire to make this leased area closed to the general public but open to those who have business with the clinic. This is similar to the school (daycare?) next door with a fence around their property.

Not being a DC property lawyer, the above is only my opinion on the situation based on limited classroom experience. We will see how this goes as to whether PP has or needs certain permits, if taxes are being paid on the property (or waived due to non-profit statue) and other factors.

DC property law is one law book I'm glad I don't have to open. Lots of weird rules with it being the capital disctrict.

Posted by: Dave at June 9, 2010 12:09 PM


I was at this event. Planned Parenthood told the police officer that the property inside the fence is their private property. Remember, this is the same organization who kills preborn children, lies and manipulates women/mothers, covers-up child abuse / rapists, accepts donations from racists, hands out books to preteen girls encouraging all forms of sexual immorality and pushes sex education to 5 year olds via public school. I'm sure a little lie here or there regarding property rights isn't going to keep them up at night.

I think we're looking at a possible Quote of the Day. Jill, what do you think?

Posted by: Austin Nedved at June 9, 2010 3:09 PM


May the truth be told and brothers and sisters in the D.C. area stand for righteousness....

Just a thought.....

John

Posted by: John at June 9, 2010 3:16 PM


Here's an image of the zoning map:
http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=1212821&id=1050188987

Posted by: nuclearjong at June 10, 2010 1:00 PM



Post a comment:




Remember Me?

(you may use HTML tags for style)

Please enter the letter "y" in the field below: