TO THE EDITOR: In the Viewpoint editorial, the authors suggested that the city councilors’ decision to approve the Take Back the Night event and deny the Bishop’s Apostles for Life event was potentially hypocritical and biased.
The authors stated that this was a free-speech issue, that both groups should be treated equally in terms of approval of the events. The authors worried that there might be ulterior motives for the refusal to grant the parking permit to the Bishop’s group, such as pro-choice sentiment.
While I agree that free assembly and protest are critical to a healthy democracy, I feel that the authors of the Viewpoint have made a false equivalency between the two events. It is true that both groups wish to change the opinions of the townspeople of Plattsburgh through peaceful protest. The similarities end there, however.
The Bishop’s group wishes to stage a protest (prayers) at a specific place of business, with the express goal of changing the minds of those women and men who want to use Planned Parenthood.
Ironically, the vast majority of women using Planned Parenthood are there for family planning, education and testing, not abortion. To shame and intimidate them (this is the inevitable result of such a protest) for using legal, vitally important health-care services is deeply wrong in my opinion.
On the other hand, the Take Back the Night organizers wish to raise awareness about rape and sexual assault, with a combination of evening marches and candlelight vigils; can anyone honestly find this protest wrong or inappropriate?
Are we now going to say that a protest to shame women for reproductive health care is the same as a protest to shame men for sexual assault? I sincerely hope not.
Red Hat Ladies