A pregnancy center has filed a federal lawsuit against the City Council of Raleigh, North Carolina for refusing to allow them to operate their facility near an abortion clinic.
LifeNews.com reports that last year, A Hand of Hope pregnancy center purchased land next to A Preferred Woman’s Health Center, which is an abortion clinic.
A Hand of Hope requested that Raleigh’s City Council allow them to rezone the land they purchased from residential to commercial so that they could operate the pregnancy center. However, the City Council rejected their request, and argued that the land was for residential use only.
A Hand of Hope believes that there are political motives behind the decision, and has therefore filed a federal lawsuit.
“The City Council is not above the law and tried to hide their political power play. Thankfully, the federal law was put in place to prevent politicians from masking their political preferences behind broad discretionary regulations,” said attorney Noel Sterett of Mauck & Baker in Chicago, which is representing Hand of Hope. “I hope we can all agree that our freedoms, property rights, and a woman’s right to be fully informed should not be subject to the political whims and discretion of a few city council members.”
A Hand of Hope’s Executive Director Tonya Baker Nelson also stated that “From all our research, it looked like our request fit right into the UDO (Raleigh’s development guidelines) and we were following all the rules laid out for us, step-by-step.”
The abortion clinic alleges that the pregnancy center would harass women who are seeking abortions if they were to operate near each other.
A Hand of Hope has refuted this claim, however:
“We don’t need to protest to attract ourselves to the community,” Nelson stated.
“We will be located right beside the abortion clinic, much like McDonald’s is across the street from Burger King,” she added. “It makes good business sense to go exactly where the people are that we’re trying to reach.”
A Hand of Hope operates two other pregnancy centers in North Carolina. The centers offer free and confidential pregnancy tests, ultrasounds, STD testing, counseling, and other services.
Publication date: August 19, 2016