GLENDALE — A longtime pro-life activist and daily communicant is facing possible jail time if Planned Parenthood, the largest provider of abortion in America, has its way.
Lynn Dyer, who for years has stood on a sunny patch of concrete adjacent to a Planned Parenthood facility in Glendale and tried to persuade women to choose life instead of abortion, was cited by the Glendale police for criminal trespass. If convicted, she could be sentenced to 100 days in jail plus a $3,000 fine and probation. And, she could be prohibited from returning to the Glendale Planned Parenthood site where late-term abortions are performed.
“The worst part would be if they would say I couldn’t go to the abortion clinic again,” Dyer said. “I certainly hope it will be dismissed.”
Dcn. George Koch said Dyer is “really a great asset to the life cause and this will really hurt us if she’s forbidden from ever approaching Planned Parenthood on Eugie Avenue.”
Dyer, who has been active in the pro-life movement for decades, has spent the last eight years trying to help women who turn to Planned Parenthood to end their pregnancies. If the Hope Mobile Unit — a large motorhome equipped with an ultrasound machine — is parked nearby, she is often able to persuade them to have a free examination and see their unborn child before going through with an abortion. If the mobile unit is not on hand, Dyer drives women to Life Choices Women’s Clinic. It varies from week to week, Dyer said, but up to three women a week choose life.
Sheila Rielly, director of LCWC, said Dyer is “persistent and successful” when she speaks with women outside Planned Parenthood and “that is why she was targeted.” Dyer’s success with persuading women to choose life has cost the abortion giant money, she said.
According to Rielly, Dyer has offered counselling in the same spot for the last eight years as women enter the center seeking an abortion.
“The police have seen her in this spot many times and said the easement was a legal place to stand to exercise her first amendment rights,” Rielly said. “At the abortionist’s insistence, the police arrested Lynn despite the lack of a no-trespassing sign or any warning. After this incident Planned Parenthood placed no- trespassing signs and markings around the property disallowing pro-lifers to walk on the sidewalk adjacent to the public street where they park. Despite the new restrictions, babies are still being saved from abortion.”
Area pro-lifers have consistently had a presence outside the clinic. Dyer is there almost every day, but each year on Good Friday and Christmas Eve, hundreds of Catholics descend on the vicinity too. They gather in the area immediately west of the Glendale Planned Parenthood to pray the Rosary. Led by Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted of the Phoenix Diocese as well as areas priests, a peaceful crowd prays 15 decades while several police officers and police vehicles hover nearby.
John Jakubczyk, a local attorney and the past president of Arizona Right to Life, is representing Dyer in the trespassing case. A pre-trial hearing was set for July 17.
“I’m hoping to get the case dismissed,” Jakubczyk said. “It’s pretty ridiculous.” Planned Parenthood has photos of Dyer standing on what they contend is their property.
“In one picture it has her standing on some gravel next to the transformer. The easement is that whole area. Then they went and got a whole new survey and the new survey has the entire sidewalk under their property control,” Jakubczyk said.
At the time Dyer was cited, there were no signs posted on the spot she was standing that warned she was infringing on Planned Parenthood’s property. After she was cited, she went to the city of Phoenix, the city of Glendale and a title company to find the exact property boundaries. Dyer was also cited three years ago for trespassing.
“I was standing in that area and there’s a little sidewalk that crosses over their driveway. I’ve always known I couldn’t go there,” Dyer said. “One day I was waving [at a woman outside Planned Parenthood] and I lost my balance. I put one foot on that little sidewalk and they caught it on camera.” Dyer said she was fined $250 in the case from three years ago.
Jakubczyk maintains that Dyer “didn’t violate the law and there’s no evidence that she did.”
So what if she winds up going to jail this time? Dyer remains pragmatic but optimistic.
“I’ve resigned myself to God’s will,” she said. “I am prepared mentally. I could do prison ministry while I’m in.”
She’s also convinced that the woman directing the clinic is “on a mission” to get rid of her. “She knows that I’m basically taking money away from them when I have a turnaround,” Dyer said, adding that she’s been praying a perpetual novena for the facility’s director.
“Keep praying,” Dyer said. “I think we are making progress in helping these women and in saving lives. We have to keep praying and not get discouraged.”