Free Speech Under Attack: Wichita Ordinance Bans Cross, Signage Displays at Abortion Facilities

By Cheryl Sullenger

Wichita, KS – Since Mother’s Day of 2004, a First Amendment religious display of wooden crosses representing the deaths of aborted children has been faithfully displayed each day during business hours outside a Wichita abortion facility. Over the years, the display withstood numerous attacks – both physical and legal.

On April 28, 2017, that all changed.

That’s when the City of Wichita began enforcing a new sign ordinance that prohibits stand-alone signage on the public right of ways.

Mark Gietzen, Chairman of the Kansas Coalition for Life, owns the cross display along with other pro-life signs that have been regularly displayed for years outside a building that first housed a late-term abortion facility and is now occupied by South Wind Women’s Center. In fact, Gietzen was even notified that the sign taped to his literature table that read “We can help you,” is now considered illegal.

Even the use of sidewalk chalk is now a crime in Wichita.

The only type of sign now legal is the hand-held type, which Gietzen says his members cannot use because they are busy handing out literature and speaking to women entering the abortion facility.

Gietzen sent a letter this week to Wichita Mayor Jeff Longwell and the City Council asking that they reconsider the ordinance because it violates Supreme Court precedent, and hinders his group’s free exercise of their First Amendment rights as well as the rights of women to receive their message.

Gietzen explained the importance of his displays:

KCFL Volunteers, assisted by their 1st Amendment signage, have saved the lives of more than 514 unborn babies who would otherwise have been put to death by abortion. The 514 associated mothers were simply given a choice, and were spared the grief and heartache of knowing that they killed their own child. Most of these now appreciative mothers, would not have known about the life-giving choices available to them, without seeing the KCFL signage located near the abortion facility.

Gietzen says his stand-alone displays are always attended, have never blocked vehicular or foot traffic, and were always completely picked up at the end of each business day.

Yet, there have been incidents with security guards stealing the signs and the city illegally confiscating them.

Last July, one of Gietzen’s nearly-blind volunteers was wrongly arrested after a clinic security guard attempted to steal a sign that the man had momentarily leaned against the literature table. A tussle over the sign ensued, which resulted in the man’s arrest.

“Also, during the past 13 years, NOT ONE City-of-Wichita sign-related complaint or citation has been issued, that stood up in court, even at the lowest levels of court,” wrote Gietzen.

Under the new ordinance, South Wind workers are free to impound pro-life signs outside the abortion business, increasing the chances that pro-life activists may be further bullied and attacked.

Gietzen hopes that the ordinance will be voluntarily rescinded by the city, but if it isn’t, he’s prepared to go to court to seek an injunction barring the city from enforcing their unconstitutional ordinance and infringing on the Constitutional Rights of his members.

Operation Rescue, which is based in Wichita, Kansas, stands ready to assist the Kansas Coalition for Life to restore right to display their their crosses and signage as they have for over a dozen years.

“The way the new sign ordinance is being implemented, it is obviously illegally targeting the pro-life activists and their audiences,” said Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue. “The Wichita City Council must rescind the unconstitutional law that favors South Wind’s shoddy and exploitative abortion business above the First Amendment rights of its citizens.”

Take action!

Contact Wichita Mayor Jeff Longwell and ask him to rescind the unconstitutional sign ordinance.

Voice:
(316) 268-4331
E-Mail: JLongwell@wichita.gov

  • Dave T.

    Maybe Mayor Jeff Longwell is a Warlock( Witch) from Which-i-ta

  • Barbara Jean

    Maybe you can recruit the women who chose life to defend the signs as personal witnesses to their effectiveness…they can bring their children too. It would take some hard core haters to hate the living children whose mothers were headed to the abortion mill but chose life for them instead.

  • Momma Beth

    I don’t know why anti-lifers continue to shock me, but they seem to keep pushing the boundaries farther and farther out there. This is a policy that I would be willing to get arrested for…and this is Kansas, not California!

  • ECwashr

    I’m guessing Lucifer runs Wichita like he runs Planned Parenthood..

  • Rev Donald Spitz

    Pro-abortion fanatics are like Satan. They will take as much as you allow them to take. We need to be on the offensive and stop being on the defensive. If you only fight defensively, you will always lose in the end.

  • KC135TopBoom

    Wichita what are you thinking? You are violating these people’s 1st Amendment Rights. Are you a puppet for Planned Parenthood?

  • Loyd Patterson

    Planed parenthood is not what christens want. Lucifer seems to run Wichita and it’s sad that Christen beliefs are put aside.Those who run that show will pay dearly.

  • motherluna

    how is a public sidewalk in their right to deny this? fight back baby lovers and if arrested bring a class action suit where the attorney only gets paid if he/she wins.

  • Don Knippel

    As a Christian we obey God’s law not man-made laws. Nothing you do
    will ever change that.

  • John Lillis

    #ismellalawsuit

  • Tins17

    The bible predicted that the people will call evil good and good evil.
    So here we are, we’re there already.

  • Ernie Jones

    Is feticide now legal?

  • patcarlson1

    Get arrested on film. Put it on youtube. Lose in city court (a foregone conclusion). Appeal and demand a jury trial. If the city doesn’t drop the case, then whether you win or lose, you will have spread the word to others about what’s happening in Soviet Wichita.

  • patcarlson1

    Witch-i-ta

  • kate777

    One will find all over the U.S. cities and towns, more and more City Councils are people who are Democrats/Socialists who believe “they know what is best for ” We the People”. They have infiltrated so bad that to root them out will be just as big a fight that President Trump is having with those in Congress and the Government who want to see him out because he “endangers” their hold on Power. They scream for more taxes, higher minimum wage, more city government control on businesses, what business should or should not be in “their” community, what is taught in schools, etc. Wichita is not the first nor the last, the people of their community has either never cared to get involved or has been shouted down. Our local governments can be just as deadly as our State and Federal, if not more because they affect us direct.

  • Hotnike

    DAMNED LIBERALS!!!!

  • ADRoberts

    I thought the center of demonic activity in the US was L.A., NYC and San Francisco. Now I find out that the entire council and the mayor are his servants. Want to bet that they all receive a lot of campaign money from the murders? God help us. Time to pray without ceasing. Time to ask God to remove each and every one of them. They KNOW the truth. They have heard the Gospel. And they have rejected it.

  • Vivavox

    We have the same problem in Columbia. They have the same laws on the books. However, heathens can get away with chalking the sidewalk and putting signs in the ground. Let a pro-lifer do it, and we’re threatened with arrest.

  • Original Anna

    Wichita, Kansas, the wild west that was the best place to be free to express yourself. So now it approves and helps the torturing to death of babies without a trial and conviction of a death sentence. Hope the pro lifers take this all the way to the Supreme Court because if it is on public property it is exactly that public property. Gees, the city loves killing babies, and is now using the planned parenthood assembly line killing of babies technique. Remind me not to take my children there as the city might make the mistake of killing my baby even if my baby is outside of my body. Once you give freedom of speech to the killing of babies and refuse freedom of speech to those against the killing of babies you don’t know where this road will end up that Wichita is now on.

  • Patti Erickson

    Pray fervently for a change of heart by the Mayor and Wichita’s administration. The regrettable legacy of abortionist Tiller “the Killer” of their community should advocate and desire for a promotion and reputation for standing for LIFE by their citizens – by that, honoring God and Biblical values – something to be proud of !!

  • Phoenix Sun

    Did anyone think it wasn’t a war?