Hand of Hope, the crisis pregnancy center looking to open up a location next to an abortion clinic
in Raleigh, has filed a federal lawsuit against the city for denying its zoning request
"Pregnant women in Raleigh should be allowed to choose Hand of Hopes’ free help and support and should not be limited to an abortion clinic. Those who go to Preferred Women’s Health will not be fully informed about their choices.” Hand of Hope executive director Tonya Baker Nelson said in a statement.
"It’s a clear violation of federal law," attorney Noel Sterett told the INDY. "There’s no basis for Raleigh to make the decision that they did…everything recommended approval, but politics came into play despite the future land use map that said this was how Raleigh was being planned. Our civil rights are being violated."
The firm representing Hand of Hope is the Alliance Defending Freedom. The ADF was cited by Mother Jones in an April article as having created the "model legislation" for anti-trans bills.
We reached out to city attorney Thomas McCormick's office, but were informed he's out of the office this week.
UPDATE: It appears that Hand of Hope is suing Raleigh on behalf of fetuses.
"We are seeking, at all times, to continue to advocate for the life of the unborn," Sterett tells the INDY of the decision to seek damages on the behalf of fetuses. "This is entirely consistent with what Hand of Hope is doing. We are giving a voice to the voiceless. North Carolina is is an informed consent state, and we need to continue to support women to be fully informed in their pregnancy decision. We’re not going to quiet our message because others might find it controversial."
You can read the lawsuit below. We'll continue updating this story as more information comes in.