Though it’s very unlikely, there is a small chance that you may attract counter-protesters at any pro-life event you may host. If any should show up, don’t panic, and follow the instructions below.
Typically counter-protest groups are not large and will not interfere with your event. They want to make their voice heard, and they have the right to do that in the public square. They do not have the right to interfere with your event or block your signs.
Here are some practical tips for dealing with counter-protesters should they come out to your rally:
- Discourage interaction between your pro-life group and the counter-protestors. These are not people who are able to be persuaded, at least not by us on the front lines at a pro-life demonstration.
- Get there early and own the space. Stake out your position and defend it.
- Call 911 if police are not present and counter-protesters attempt to disrupt your event. They are breaking the law and you need to get the police out to protect your right to free expression and assembly.
- Attorneys from the Thomas More Society (TMS) pro-life law center in Chicago will be available during the your event should you encounter problems with the police. If you face a dispute with police that you are not able to resolve on your own please call TMS right away. You can reach attorney Tom Olp at 630-220-7329, or attorney Joan Mannix at 312-685-4552. Program those numbers into your phone before the event so you have them at the ready if you need them.
- Document the presence of counter-protestors with photos and video. Their actions, especially if vulgar and angry, can be a great way of showing others what the abortion movement is all about. Be sure to capture the contrast between your event and theirs.
Again, the likelihood of any disruption is very small. If they come, be the picture of peaceful, prayerful humility and conduct your event as if they weren’t there.