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Christmas carolers protest outside Va. abortion clinic | News

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Christmas carolers protest outside Va. abortion clinic

FALLS CHURCH, Va. (WUSA9) -- A group of protestors outside a Falls Church abortion clinic was told by police they couldn't sing Christmas carols outside the clinic because they were singing too loud. 

Mary Flores of Manassas was one of the protestors and took a video of police telling the group they could not sing. Falls Church Police Chief Mary Gavin says her officers informed the protestors about the noise ordinance.

"The spirit in which that ordinance, in particular the sound, if it's amplified [and] disruptive to businesses. This was not the case with them. It [our visit] was born out of a phone call that they were blocking the sidewalk, blocking the businesses," Gavin said. 

Clinic workers say they heard the singing but did not call the police. Another business in the building did.

"It's very loud and disruptive especially the when we have patients and a full waiting room of people. And they were very loud and disruptive. And they were also blocking the sidewalk," said Marsha Doyle, the clinic's surgical coordinator. 

"I think their motive is to disrupt or deter patients from using our services. We shouldn't make it any more difficult for that person. We should be helping women, not judging them," said Iris Carlo, a clinic worker. 

The clinic workers say their not against Christmas caroling. 

"We are a very faith-based organization. We are not against Christmas. We have a Christmas tree in our lobby. We are not anti-Christmas," Doyle said. 

Chief Gavin says the protestors have a right to be there and the businesses have a right to do what they do without facing obstruction and fearing for their safety, especially given the recent shooting at a Colorado clinic. She says if the police department's job to keep everyone safe and strike a balance between both.   

Chief Gavin added that protestors cannot be on private property, nor approach people trying to enter the building.

Protestors plan to back at noon on Wednesday. Gavin told WUSA9 that they will be allowed to sing, but won't be allowed to block the sidewalk or be on the private property, which includes the grass.

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