Life Legal Senior Staff Attorney Allison Aranda represented pro-lifer Craig Walterscheid at a pre-trial hearing this week. Craig, who has faithfully prayed outside abortion clinics for decades, was arrested and issued a citation for felony vandalism for sidewalk “chalking” outside a California abortion clinic.
The practice of using washable chalk on public sidewalks has always been a protected form of speech. But apparently First Amendment protections don’t apply when it comes to pro-life messages.
Craig used washable spray chalk to write out “Abortion is Murder” and “2363.org” on the public sidewalk outside the abortion mill. 2363.org is a campaign to raise awareness about the number of babies killed daily through abortion.
Spray chalk is frequently used in various types of protests, artwork, and even children’s games – yet none of the individuals involved in those activities have faced prosecution as Craig has.
Attorney Aranda succeeded in getting the charges reduced to misdemeanor offenses. But the abortion distortion continues. The court has scheduled a “restitution hearing” to determine whether Craig will have to pay for the cost of using a pressure washer to remove the chalk from the sidewalk.
Aranda experimented with the same type of sidewalk chalk used by Craig. She sprayed it on the sidewalk outside her home and then it started drizzling. The next day the chalk was gone. No pressure washer needed. A light spray from an ordinary garden hose would have done the trick.
It is outrageous that pro-lifers are subjected time and again to overzealous prosecution simply for exercising their First Amendment rights. Life Legal exists to defend pro-lifers against these unconstitutional attempts to silence their speech.
Mr. Walterscheid’s next hearing is on May 19.