Today’s guest post is by Lauren Handy. She recently did some research and determined that the entire front lawn outside the Planned Parenthood facility that just opened in Washington, D.C.—right up to the door—is public property, open to pro-lifers offering alternatives to abortion!
This is a bigger deal than Ron Burgundy:
We asked Lauren to share the story of how she figured this out, in the hope that it will help others across the country to make the most of their First Amendment rights. Here’s what she had to say.
Activist: Well, officer, this is public property. I’m allowed to stand here.
D.C. Officer: And what authority are you speaking on?
Activist: Chapter 5, Title 3A, Sub 1(d).
D.C. Officer: …
D.C. Officer: …
D.C. Officer: OK.
If I had a quarter for every time I had this conversation, I would be able to afford my metro fare. But alas, I only get stares from onlookers and a grumpy Planned Parenthood staff. Yet it’s worth it, because when you know the full scope of your rights, you become an empowered and effective activist.
I know what you’re thinking: How did Lauren learn all of this? Well, I was trained under Survivors of the Abortion Holocaust, and I have personally had over 400 saves (meaning I helped change a mother’s mind and the baby was saved from abortion). I want you to have the same success so today I’ll share with you some of my tips and tricks!
As a disclaimer, I am not a lawyer. BUT I am a person whose traveled to 30 states for pro-life work and I’ve found more often than not these situations will be the same.
|Lauren on public property outside the D.C.
Planned Parenthood abortion center
As the D.C. Planned Parenthood construction site was being finished, I noticed a manhole or water utility on the grass. I was so shocked that I started dancing on it. I thought: “This is it! This is how we will take down Planned Parenthood!” And now you’re thinking, is she always this dramatic? Well… yes, I am, but finding these gems is very important during your outreach. Manholes, fire hydrants and water utilities are all government owned. This means it is public property, making it a traditional public forum, a.k.a. you can stand there and be closer to the door!
When you go to your local abortion facility, scan the area for these telltale signs. It helps you gain sidewalk counseling ground which makes you more effective. Often you have 2-5 seconds to convince a mother not to kill their baby, but for every foot you add to where you can stand, add a couple more seconds. In crisis intervention you are racing against the clock and every second counts.
Now that I have identified new public property, I need to get proof. Our word is never enough, so I had to get a map. Specifically, an official map, that holds the weight to back up the claim.
Finding your map is fairly easy. Your key word in finding them is PLAT. First, you Google the name your city or county with the words “plat map.” In this case I googled “D.C. plat map” and it brought me to the government’s board of property page. I got the office’s address and made my way to the official surveyor’s office. I told them the Planned Parenthood address, and boom I now have my official map!
So now when I begin my sidewalk outreach at the new Planned Parenthood, I’ll have all that I need to prove I can stand on the expanded space.
I have used this tactic in Silver Spring, MD, San Bernardino, CA, and at another D.C. abortion facility as well. It works and you gain confidence as an activist as well.
Now for a last quick tip: laminate your map and make multiple copies. You never know what will happen. I have had my map ripped, sprayed by a hose, and worst of all, lost it in my tornado of a room. So having more than one is a godsend.
In the end, I cannot stress enough how important it is for you to use every tip and trick you can when sidewalk counseling. It saves lives and protects mothers and families from the scourge of abortion.
Helping people is my mission in life, so if you have any comments or questions please send them my way!
Peace for all,