The following comes from a November 29 Christian Newswire news release:
Last month, Father James Linton was arrested outside the San Bernardino Planned Parenthood for offering to pray with women entering the abortion facility. Police held him for six hours and cited him for interfering with and obstructing access to a business. On November 2, the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office formally charged Linton, accusing him of violating Penal Code section 602.1 (a) (Interference with a Business). If convicted, Fr. Linton could be sentenced to up to 90 days in jail and a $400 fine.
When he was arrested, Fr. Linton, an Anglican pastor, was standing on a public easement offering incoming mothers and fathers alternatives to abortion and praying for them to change their minds. “The arrest of Fr. Linton is outrageous,” stated Allison Aranda, Senior Staff Counsel for the Life Legal Defense Foundation and a former prosecutor for Riverside County. “Fr. Linton certainly did not intend to interfere with Planned Parenthood’s ability to conduct its business. Rather, he simply offered assistance and alternatives to its patrons that could save the lives of their precious babies.”
Last year, the Center for Medical Progress released the videos of its undercover investigation of Planned Parenthood. At the time, Fr. Linton’s wife was pregnant with their third child. “The combination of seeing abortion victims sorted through for parts and my wife being pregnant destroyed me,” he said. “She organized a protest and I’ve been in front of the clinic every Friday since.”
Fr. Linton and the other sidewalk counselors outside the San Bernardino Planned Parenthood are doing nothing more than exercising their Constitutional right to speak freely on the public sidewalk and rights of way in their community. They are not violating the law. “In fact, the code section under which Fr. Linton was charged, specifically exempts from criminal liability, those who are engaging in activities that are protected by the California and United States Constitution,” Ms. Aranda noted.