JudicialCourt Lets Church Continue Praying Outside of Houston Planned Parenthood

Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast compared the congregation, which prays outside their facility every month, to the U.S. Capitol rioters.
February 17, 2021
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Before David Allen led The Memorials Church, a small congregation that worships every month at the gates of a Planned Parenthood in Houston, he was a teenager who walked his pregnant girlfriend into an abortion clinic.

Now, Allen’s monthly prayer has landed him in a lawsuit, only the latest legal action brought against him by Planned Parenthood.

While the court won’t decide the case until March, they denied Planned Parenthood’s request to bar congregants from worshiping at their gates, allowing the services to continue.

The Memorials Church has prayed at the gates of a Planned Parenthood abortion facility in Houston for six months. A photographer that Allen hired to film a worship service also took video of the outside of the building by drone.

On February 4, Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast sought a restraining order in a Harris County district court to bar the congregation from worshipping or taking footage. The next day, the 152nd Judicial District Court temporarily barred The Memorials Church from flying drones within a half-mile of the property again, but allowed the group to continue their prayer.

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In their original petition for a restraining order, Planned Parenthood suggested that the congregants posed a domestic terrorism threat akin to the U.S. Capitol rioters, citing a Department of Homeland Security bulletin as an exhibit.

“Given the increasingly threatening rhetoric and positions taken by Allen and The Memorials in videos posted both on the website of [The Memorials] and Allen’s Vimeo profile, Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast (PPGC) and I have become increasingly concerned about possible actions by Allen and others that gather outside of PPGC’s Gulf Freeway property,” Larissa Lindsay, Senior Director of Security and Facilities for PPGC, wrote in an affidavit.

The clinic’s website also calls the congregation’s efforts to dissuade potential customers a traffic risk.

Allen, who has been arrested on trespassing charges at the facility before, called the legal action “routine” in a statement released by the church.

“Planned Parenthood uses authorities to abuse peaceful pro-life citizens. There is a video on our website of three instances of authorities abusing me some years ago without any cause on behalf of Planned Parenthood,” Allen alleged.

“Authorities were also forced to abuse people after the Supreme Court approved slavery in 1857 and segregation in 1896. The 1973 Roe v. Wade decision is no different. And it tortures authorities whose heart is to protect and serve.”

After a hearing on February 11, the court will consider Planned Parenthood’s request for a temporary injunction in March.

Allen said that the congregants used a page from Planned Parenthood’s affidavit for a songbook cover sheet when they returned to worship on February 5.

Correction: A previous version of this article stated that Allen hired the photographer to film the building. Allen said the use of the drone was unplanned and that he originally hired the photographer just to film the service. We regret the error.

 

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Isaiah Mitchell

Isaiah Mitchell

Isaiah Mitchell is a reporter for The Texan, a Texas native, and a huge Allman Brothers fan. He graduated cum laude from Trinity University in 2020 with a degree in English. Isaiah loves playing music and football with his family.