David Benham arrested for sidewalk counseling at North Carolina abortion clinic during COVID-19 lockdown

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The Benham Brothers, nationally recognized Pro-Life activists, made headlines this week following David Benham’s arrest for allegedly violating ordinances aimed at protecting citizens during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Benham, who lives in North Carolina, was arrested on the morning of Saturday, April 4, at A Preferred Women’s Health Center of Charlotte, an abortion facility that has been deemed “essential” by the state of North Carolina and continues to commit abortions.

The Benham Brothers posted a video of the arrest on Twitter, which shows David surrounded by police officers calmly explaining that he and his team members at Cities4Life were not in violation of the ordinance and had fully observed social distancing measures in their counseling.  According to Benham, there were only three people from Cities4Life on the sidewalk and they remained more than six feet away from the mothers to whom they spoke entering the abortion facility. 

After the incident, Benham warned that officials who support abortion may be using the pandemic as a means of prohibiting Pro-Life speech.  He told Fox News, “It’s government overreach.  It’s viewpoint discrimination. It’s selective enforcement of the COVID law.  It’s the suppressing of religious expression.  It’s all those things.” He added, “It’s just a straight-up breaching of my constitutional rights.”

Benham noted that of the more than 1,400 complaints the city has received related to the COVID-19 ordinances banning gatherings of more than 10, closing non-essential businesses, and requiring social distancing, only eight arrests have occurred and all of those were of Pro-Lifers counseling mothers in front of abortion clinics.  He told Fox, “They were targeting me.  We are an essential business completely cleared.  We were way above board and yet they still targeted me.”

In an interview with LifeSite News, Benham told Jonathon Van Maren, “The actual citation was violating emergency prohibitions and restrictions.”  The county’s attorney, Tyrone Wade, has now accused Benham of holding a protest with more than 50 participants, a claim Benham says is blatantly false. 

During the arrest, Benham told the officer, “The only reason you’re not going to the Home Depot (which is down the street) with a thousand people there, the only reason you’re not going to the park with 1,500 people there, is because I’m standing in front of an abortion clinic.”  In response to this observation, Benham says of the officer, “He had nothing to say.”

Pro-Life Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) defended Benham, writing on Twitter, “My friend David Benham was unconstitutionally arrested today in NC for peacefully providing pregnancy counseling outside an abortion clinic.  If NC deems abortion ‘essential,’ then pregnancy care services are as well. This is WRONG; Governor Cooper should be ashamed.”

Texas has successfully fought to ban elective abortion during the pandemic, but in most states, including North Carolina, abortion facilities remain open, ending the lives of preborn babies and using personal protective equipment desperately needed by medical personnel on the front lines of fighting the pandemic.  Benham noted that in North Carolina, anti-Life officials are capitalizing on the crisis. He said they “want these women to go into these abortion facilities that are gonna give no assistance whatsoever, and it’s gonna devastate their lives’” while at the same time keeping them from “pro-life organizations that are gonna help mothers holistically from womb to tomb, not just the baby but the mother and the family.”

David Benham and his brother, Jason, spoke at Texas Right to Life’s 21st Annual Celebration of Life in Houston, Texas, in 2018.  The brothers explained their commitment to the Pro-Life cause, saying, “Abortion is not just an issue; it’s the issue.  It’s not just the pivotal issue of our time but it’s the pivotal issue of all time.  Any time God has planned for deliverance, Satan has planned for destruction.”  Encouraging Texans to stand for Life, they said, “Being faithful when no one is watching sets the stage for when everyone is watching.”

In the current crisis, their courage and commitment to Life are apparent.  Benham joined other Pro-Lifers unconstitutionally arrested in North Carolina, and the group Alliance Defending Freedom sent a letter to the City of Charlotte stating that if Pro-Lifers are not allowed to pray and sidewalk counsel outside abortion facilities they will file suit.

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