JACKSON, March 8, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Two pro-life advocates who were arrested and held in jail for 24 hours while peacefully demonstrating outside a high school in Mississippi say they were told by police that they were detained simply because they were talking about abortion.
The two women, Kristina Garza and Brianna Baxter, were demonstrating peacefully Monday afternoon outside Murrah High School in Jackson, Mississippi. Members of the Survivors of the Abortion Holocaust Campus Life Team, they were attempting to educate students about abortion using pro-life literature and graphic signs that depict aborted babies at various gestational stages, beginning at nine weeks.
The group, which is composed of seven members including Baxter and Garza, was confronted by campus police officers and told they couldn’t stand on the sidewalk outside the school.
Garza told LifeSiteNews that the group was given inconsistent information by different officers. While some asserted that the sidewalk belonged to the school, others did not want to say that the pro-life activists were actually breaking the law.
“We could not get a straight story whatsoever,” she said. “It was obvious it was a public sidewalk. There was a fire hydrant. There were city sewers.”
Students were sequestered into the school and apparently prohibited from talking to the pro-lifers. As they walked by to board their bus, several students reportedly told the group that they could not speak with them because they were afraid of being suspended.
When Garza and her team members eventually left, they were told by police that if they came back, they would be arrested. “We asked him what law we would be breaking, and he said, ‘just don’t come back,’” she related.
An attorney contacted the school the following day to ask what law the pro-lifers would be breaking if they returned. School officials acknowledged that the sidewalk was public property, but reiterated, without citing any law, that the demonstrators could not return.
Father Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, denounced the arrests, saying: “Those who are persecuting these brave young pro-life activists are cowards, and a good example of what is wrong in our culture today.