“I couldn’t understand why we couldn’t allow them to stay for an hour.”
Kelly suggested that since the Apostles for Life is a religious organization, its members could protest outside a church, such as St. John’s or St. Peter’s.
“Both of those places have really wide sidewalks and lawns so they would be safe for many, many people to gather,” Kelly said.
But the Apostles for Life message hinges on the location of the vigil and the intent of the prayers, Middleton said.
“That’s the same reason bank robbers rob banks. That’s where the abortions take place.”
‘SIMPLY A VIGIL’
Kasper said her concern about demonstrations outside Planned Parenthood has only increased since the vote.
She said at least six people who act as volunteer escorts at the clinic told her of incidents where patrons trying to enter the building were met with obscenities, pamphlets being thrown at them and, at times, were physically touched by demonstrators.
One person told her he had reported one of these incidents to the Plattsburgh City Police, she said.
O’Connell suggested the council get a record of the complaint if they were to further examine the issue.
While Middleton hasn’t been at every demonstration or prayer vigil in front of Planned Parenthood, he said he hasn’t seen any of that kind of behavior in the 43 years he has been a part of the local pro-life movement.
“I don’t believe any harassment has occurred in our history,” Middleton said. “We don’t believe in that. We’re simply doing a prayer vigil, and we don’t whoop and holler and disturb anybody.”
Kasper said, “Whatever we decide, if this comes forward to the council again, I think we’ll have to insist that we have a greater awareness of what’s going on.”
Email Felicia Krieg:email@example.comTwitter: @FeliciaKrieg