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Anglican priest faces jail time for offering prayers to women entering Planned Parenthood

(Reuters/Jonathan Ernst/Files)Anti-abortion activist Craig Kuhns wears mirrored sunglasses and a piece of tape over his mouth as he stands in front of the US Supreme Court building in Washington, in this June 1, 2009 file photo.

An Anglican priest in California could be sentenced to jail and pay a heavy fine for offering prayers to pregnant women who are entering a Planned Parenthood clinic in San Bernardino.

Police arrested Father James Linton outside the clinic on Oct. 7 while he was standing on a public easement offering incoming parents alternatives to abortion and praying for them to change their minds, California Catholic Daily reported.

"The arrest of Father Linton is an outrageous violation of his First Amendment rights," said Allison Aranda, Senior Staff Counsel for Life Legal Defense Foundation, according to Life Site News.

"Father Linton simply offered assistance and alternatives to its patrons that could save the lives of their precious babies," she continued.

Last year, Center for Medical Progress released a series of undercover videos showing Planned Parenthood officials negotiating the sales of body parts. Linton, whose wife was pregnant at that time, said that the videos were instrumental in his decision to pray outside the abortion clinic.

"The combination of seeing abortion victims sorted through for parts and my wife being pregnant destroyed me. She organized a protest and I've been in front of the clinic every Friday since," said the priest.

The Planned Parenthood clinic in San Bernardino performs abortions up to 20 weeks of pregnancy every Friday. The facility recently built a wall in an attempt to prevent sidewalk counselors from speaking to parents in the parking lot.

On the day Linton was arrested, the Planned Parenthood manager told him and other sidewalk counselors not to stand on the driveway. The manager called the police who ordered the counselors not to harass the patients.

Linton was arrested a few minutes later while he was standing on the public easement along the side of the clinic speaking with a mother. If convicted, he could be sentenced up to 90 days in jail and be order to pay the fine of $400.

Linton, who is a pastor of Christ's Church in Yucaipa, said that the other members of his church are supportive of his work and he is not discouraged by the arrest.

"I have found that sidewalk counseling has been one of the most important avenues for Christian discipleship in my life," he said.

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