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The sign you see above may already be down, the result of a settlement reached yesterday between the City of Aurora, IL, and the Pro-Life Action League….

In 2007 Planned Parenthood of Chicago bamboozled Aurora by submitting fraudulent zoning and construction forms to force an abortion mill on the community.
And with whom did Aurora officials become angry? Pro-lifers, of course, making it very difficult for them to exercise their right to free speech. (All photos in this post are from the scene.)
City officials posted signs at public thoroughfares around PP banning protests, for instance, and police interrogated pro-lifers even for praying.
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They also stalked pro-lifers, saying they couldn’t cross the imaginary halfway line in the middle of a public access road to PP’s “side,” even though citizens walking their dogs could.
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So what did pro-lifers do? They filed a federal lawsuit. And yesterday they settled. I asked PLAL’s Eric Scheidler why they didn’t hold out, and he said it was because the settlement was very favorable toward pro-lifers, would immediately free pro-life volunteers from being hassled, and would stop the legal expenses. Can’t argue any of that.
Following are the terms, as quoted from the press statement. I’ve added a few points of clarification in brackets:

  • Recognition of the rights of pro-life citizens to protest abortion and offer alternatives.
  • Implementation of special First Amendment and non-discriminatory law enforcement training to officers of the Aurora Police Department in collaboration with pro-lifers.
  • Amendment of 2 city ordinances related to parades and residential picketing to make them less restrictive of Constitutionally-protected public protests. [Pro-lifers may protest as often as they want at the PP mill and 4x a year throughout the neighborhood, such as the Jericho March.]
  • Guidelines for the types, size and number of pro-life signs activists will employ during vigils and protests. [This refers to stationary signs, which was a major area of contention. Handheld signs are in no way restricted.]
  • Removal of street signs on Oakhurst Drive that prohibit protest activity.
    Establishment of a new grievance procedure that is mutually beneficial to both the city and the pro-life community.
  • A couple more details of the victories, as quoted from Metro Catholic.

  • Protects right of pro-life individuals to use public sidewalks and parkways for prayer and protest.
  • Graphic signs may be used in demonstrations, with appropriate warning signs displayed to alert passers-by. [Eric said they post warning signs anyway.]
  • The City will install a high-resolution video camera to continuously record all activities near the facility, if it installs any such other cameras for law enforcement in the city.
  • Protesters who use the private access road near the facility will not be arrested, absent a property owner’s direction, and unless there is any serious criminal history, such incidents will be deemed ordinance violations subject to the grievance procedure.
  • To assure public safety, Aurora will take necessary steps to ensure a public sidewalk is constructed along the access road.
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