Several GOP congressmen have sent a letter to the Department of Justice, asking the assistant attorney general to investigate the arrest of two pro-life activists outside a Planned Parenthood clinic in Washington, D.C.
Earlier this month, D.C. police arrested two demonstrators who were in the process of chalking the message “Black Preborn Lives Matter” on the public sidewalk in front of Planned Parenthood, during a peaceful protest organized by several pro-life groups. According to Students for Life of America, one of the organizers, the group had applied for and obtained a permit from the city to write on the sidewalk.
The two individuals — one of whom is a college student and the other of whom is affiliated with SFLA — were charged with defacing public or private property and released later that morning.
“This incident, in light of the District allowing other political messages to appear on public property, raises troubling questions about whether the District is respecting the constitutional rights of individuals in a viewpoint-neutral manner,” wrote House Judiciary Committee ranking member Jim Jordan (R., Ohio) and Representative James Comer (R., K.Y.), the top GOP congressman on the Oversight Committee.
“The District’s prohibition of the ‘Black Pre-Born Lives Matter’ message suggests that the District may have engaged in unconstitutional viewpoint discrimination in light of the District’s allowance for other political messages on public property,” the letter went on.
The congressmen went on to point out that government officials, including D.C. mayor Muriel Bowser, had commissioned a “Black Lives Matter” street mural and subsequently permitted protestors to chalk a message right beside it declaring “Defund The Police.”
“The District has only recently paved over the ‘Defund The Police’ message, more than two months after it was painted,” they added. “This decision to allow some political messages to be painted or marked on public property but not other suggests that the District may be discriminating against speakers on the basis of their viewpoints.”
Jordan and Comer also wrote to Bowser, asking that she provide any information her office has about the arrests by August 24.