Citing abortion views, DC restaurant boots pro-life group

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Saying it “stands firmly” in support of legalized abortion, a Washington, D.C. restaurant has canceled a pro-life group’s booking for its annual “March for Life Breakfast.”

The group, Democrats for Life of America, scheduled the event at the K Street location of Busboys and Poets, a restaurant-bookstore chain, to coincide with the 49th annual March for Life on Jan. 21.

“When our team learned the fundraising nature of the event in question, the decision was made to cancel it and refund all deposits to the event organizer,” a spokeswoman for Busboys and Poets told CNA.

The chain “stands firmly on the belief that women have the right to make their own reproductive health decisions,” she said.

“While we welcome conversations from individuals expressing different viewpoints and pride ourselves on being a venue for respectful conversations between diverse groups, we are also a safe space,” the spokeswoman continued. “As such, we cannot knowingly accept events designed to fund an agenda which our community members believe to be trampling on the rights of others.” 

The event guidelines the chain lists on its website do not mention restrictions on events due to their nature or content.

The chain notified Democrats for Life of the cancellation on Jan. 11.

“The primary purpose of the breakfast is to get together as a group with some of our fellow Whole Life Democrats (donors, supporters, and candidates we've endorsed) before we rally on the streets and fight for the rights of children in the womb,” Jess Meeth, DFLA’s national communications director, told CNA, referring to the group’s commitment to being pro-life for the “whole” of human life, at every stage.

According to a DFLA press release, Busboys and Poets said the cancellation came because its guests “reached out about the nature and tenor of the event.” Meeth told CNA that she was not sure how the restaurant's guests found out about the private event or who they were.

Busboys and Poets’ decision came after Kristen Day, executive director of DFLA, spoke with a restaurant manager.

“The Catering Director mentioned to me that Planned Parenthood holds events at the venue which I did not think was relevant to the conversation,” Day said, according to the press release. “Clearly, Busboys and Poets caved to pressure instead of abiding by the contract we signed.”

Meeth said that DFLA is currently searching for another venue. She said that Americans — regardless of their political party or position on abortion — should pay attention to the cancellation.

“Pro-life Americans should absolutely care about this cancellation, regardless of their political party,” she told CNA. “Abortion is a humans right issue that can’t be confined to one political party. We need bipartisan support and bipartisan efforts from conservatives, liberals, and everyone in between.”

“Americans as a whole should care about this cancellation as well,” she continued. “We as Americans want a country that's rooted in inclusivity and diversity. Inclusivity and diversity cannot be achieved if we shun and shut out individuals or groups because of political backgrounds, beliefs, and ideals.”

Democrats For Life of America was founded in 1999 and is dedicated to educating Democrats on pro-life policies, promoting a pro-life plank in the Democratic Party platform, and supporting legislation that fosters respect for all human life. 

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