PP to Pro-Lifers: Don’t Take Pictures at Our Clinic!

Planned Parenthood's sign is trying to enforce unnamed state and federal statutes against public photography.
Planned Parenthood's sign is trying to enforce unnamed state and federal statutes against public photography.

Why the sudden fear of photography?

Perhaps Planned Parenthood Old Town put up this sign (see photo, left) on Monday the 21st because of the ambulance which pulled up to its doors on Friday, March 18.

Pro-Lifers Take Photos of Ambulance

Quick thinking 40 Days for Life vigil co-coordinator Darlene snapped a few pictures of the ambulance just outside the door of the clinic (see photo below).

As Darlene wrote in a message to me, she specifically chose to not take any photographs of the woman who was being taken away:

An ambulance waits to take away a Planned Parenthood abortion victim.
An ambulance waits to take away a Planned Parenthood abortion victim.

I took a picture of the fire truck and police SUV flanking the corner, and I took a picture of the ambulance with the front door in view. I put my phone away when they brought the poor woman out. … She was sitting in one of those collapsible wheelchairs ambulances carry. She had a towel over her lower body but was not fully covered (the sides of her legs were visible; she was not wearing pants), and her sitting position made me worry she might have still been mid-procedure.

Talk about it being too late to worry about this woman’s privacy! In a similar case last week in Washington State, the Planned Parenthood staffers made a monumental effort to conceal their victim’s identity as she was transported to the ambulance–and that was in a fenced parking lot, not a busy public street in Chicago!

How Many Photos Does It Take To Break These Supposed Laws?

I’ve made a partial list of the times I’ve “violated” the supposed laws against photographing their building and deathscorts: Most recent is this blog post. There are also several dealing with our encounters with police and the bubble zone (here, here, here, and here.) There there’s this amusing one, of the deathscorts “educating” David on where she thinks he ought to be standing.

Visit my facebook page and you’ll find 60 photos I’ve taken at the clinic over the last year and a half. Visit the League’s YouTube page and you’ll find several videos I’ve made out there.

And that list only includes photos taken at that clinic, not all the others I’ve been to!

Do you suppose PP will try to prosecute Google for posting this photo from GoogleMaps? Or prosecute the newspaper photographer for this photo? Or Yelp? Or CityData.com? Or TimeOut Chicago, which glorified deathscort Zach Burgess in its puff piece?

Perhaps most interesting of all is that the video of accused Bubble-Breaker Joe Holland–which shows two deathscorts and five clinic clients–has been viewed by nearly 82,000 people. Why didn’t Planned Parenthood complain then?

Because there wasn’t an ambulance that day. Ambulances are the proof PP wants most in the world to hide. Proof that shows that abortion is not safe, even though it’s legal.

What Does The Law Really Say?

According to attorney Bert P. Krages in his book, Legal Handbook for Photographers: The Rights and Liabilities of Making Images, 2nd Ed.:

Despite the importance that society places on personal privacy, the law imposes relatively few restriction on photographing people. Even the most sensitive aspects of people’s lives, including extreme tragedy and embarrassing moments, may be photographed freely unless the subjects have secluded themselves in a place or manner where they can reasonably expect privacy. …

City sidewalks are a classic example of the kind of public place in which people are not considered to have a reasonable expectation to keep their activities or property secluded from public view. (p. 25)

Moreover, Chrissie, the 40 Days Old Town co-coordinator spoke with the Chicago police (unofficially, of course) and the officer assured her that the two laws they might be referring to do not apply in situations like ours. (The laws are
720-ILCS 5/26-4, which prohibits video recording another person without their consent in a private place and 720-ILCS 5/14-1 which prohibits eavesdropping, i.e., audio recording, of private conversations.)

I want to be clear about the Pro-Life Action League’s stance and what I’m defending here: We rarely ever photograph clinic patients. This is not because we’ve been bullied into fearing that it’s illegal, but because we believe it’s impolite and unnecessary in most situations.

And Darlene clarified in a conversation on the topic that taking pictures of someone in a compromised position, like the girl being taken to the ambulance, would be against the spirit and mission of 40 Days for Life, which is to show kindness and to be a listening ear (after all, 40 Days vigils brought out Abby Johnson and may be getting someone else out soon!)

As for the clinic staff and volunteer deathscorts, if they’re so ashamed of their jobs that they don’t want anyone to know they’re working there, I would find that to be very revealing about the kind of place Planned Parenthood is. After all, they’re working for the greatest company in the world, not America’s largest abortion chain, right?

Two Fool Rule

A volunteer takes a picture of the No Picture Taking Sign.
A volunteer takes a picture of the No Picture Taking Sign.

As my mom, Sandy, always says, though, this is a classic example of the Two Fool Rule: It takes one fool to say it, and another fool to do it. As you can see from this picture of pro-life Prayer Warrior, Anthony, (jestingly blurred to protect the identity of this “risk-taker”), we’re not fools!

So post your signs, Planned Parenthood. The people in charge of this 40 Days for Life campaign are not going to be intimidated!

Show your solidarity with these good people by signing up for an hour (or six or eight!) at this vigil or the one nearest you.

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