By L.A. Williams
Christian Action League
February 18, 2022
As Love Life prayer-walkers hold weekly gatherings outside abortion clinics Saturday in more than a dozen U.S. cities, they can praise God for a recent legal victory that will help ensure their First Amendment right to continue assembling on behalf of the unborn.
On Feb. 7, Love Life ministry in Charlotte reached a settlement with Guilford County over the false arrest of Love Life members who were praying outside of A Woman’s Choice abortion facility in the spring of 2020. Alliance Defending Freedom had filed the suit on behalf of Global Impact Ministries, which operates under the name Love Life.
“Guilford County officials have agreed that engaging in pro-life advocacy on public sidewalks is protected by the First Amendment,” reported ADF in a press release. “In the settlement, the county also agreed to pay $15,000 toward the pro-life members’ attorneys’ fees, and to uphold citizens’ First Amendment rights in any future proclamation order related to the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The ordeal began in late March of 2020 when law enforcement officials from Guilford County and the City of Greensboro arrested several Love Life members, accusing them of violating the county’s emergency proclamation related to COVID-19, and threatening them with 60 days in jail and a $1,000 fine. In truth, Love Life had taken great pains to follow the rules — ensuring that fewer than 10 individuals were present, keeping everyone spaced at least six feet apart, and making sure everyone had hand sanitizer. They walked and prayed on public sidewalks and, with permission from the owner, gathered on nearby private property.
Even so, officers arrested them, saying they had engaged in “travel for a non-essential function,” despite the fact that no travel restriction existed for organizations like Love Life that provide free social services to those in need.
“From the beginning, this case has been about government silencing people because it didn’t like what they had to say. If abortion businesses could stay open to perform elective abortions during the pandemic, Christians abiding by health and safety guidelines should certainly be allowed to pray outside,” said ADF Senior Counsel Denise Harle, director of the ADF Center for Life, in announcing the settlement. “The government can concern itself with health and safety and still respect the constitutionally protected freedoms guaranteed to citizens.”
Harle commended Guilford County officials for agreeing to respect the free speech rights of Love Life members and for acknowledging their freedom to pray and speak in the public square. She invited the city of Greensboro, which was also named in the lawsuit, to do the same. That portion of the suit remains active.
Founded in Charlotte more than five years ago, Love Life’s mission to “stand in the gap in prayer for the pre-born at the darkest places in our cities” is spreading across the nation. The ministry is working to “unite and mobilize the church to create a culture of love and life that will result in an end to abortion and the orphan crisis.” During it’s 40-week Journey of Hope, the ministry invites Christians to gather for peaceful prayer and worship outside abortion clinics every Saturday morning. Learn more at LoveLife.org.