The heir to the Ford family fortune demanded that a local Catholic church in his Detroit-area suburb strip down a pro-life display established to remember the 64 million lives lost to abortion after the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision. The city buckled and ordered the church to modify its signs by trimming down the size.
In a letter addressed to the Grosse Pointe city manager, which was also sent to the reverend of St. Paul on the Lake Catholic Church and the local newspapers, Edsel B. Ford II, the great-grandson of Henry Ford, condemned the memorial as a “blight” on the community.
“Once again, I am writing to you with dismay concerning St. Paul Catholic Church’s use of their front lawn on Lake Shore Road to place signs and crosses advocating their political/moral/ethical position against abortion,” Ford wrote, according to the Detroit Free Press on Sunday. “As one drives down Lake Shore Road, the view and expanse of yards in Grosse Pointe Farms has been a beautiful asset of our City which our community has taken great effort to protect. Signs and crosses such as those erected by St Paul Catholic Church diminish the character of our neighborhood and quality of life for residents and visitors.”
The paper published photos of the display that was made controversial by the local millionaire whose wife, Cynthia Ford, is on the board of Michigan Planned Parenthood.
Ford wrote that unless the memorial was taken down, his family would “proceed to install sign(s) in our yard of the same dimension, expressing our own views.”
“Because of your current position as City Manager of the City of Grosse Pointe Farms, I assume you give special dispensation to St. Paul Catholic Church to display these controversial signs and crosses,” Ford said. “As a taxpayer I also have the right to express my concerns.”
According to the Detroit Free Press, City Manager Shane Reeside “took immediate action” upon the letter’s receipt last week.
“Our public service director will go out and review the signs that were placed out by the church to make sure they conform with the city sign ordinance,” Reeside told the paper. “The signs are located in the community service district, so the sign requirements are a little bit more expansive than they are for the residential area.”
The church told the Detroit Free Press that the “parish has carefully followed pertinent laws and city ordinances when assembling lawn displays, including this year’s collection of crosses, a message offering assistance to pregnant mothers, and a sign sharing our position on Proposal 3.”
The church was ultimately ordered by Reeside to trim one of the signs into compliance with municipal code restricting billboard sizes. The display will also be taken down on Wednesday as originally planned to comply with city codes on temporary demonstrations.
In November, Michigan residents will decide on the statewide ballot measure “Proposal 3,” which would amend the state constitution to enshrine so-called abortion rights into law. The proposal before voters follows the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling to overturn the 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade, marking a generational achievement for the pro-life movement.
Since the summer court ruling, at least two Michigan pro-life centers have been the target of vandalism by pro-abortion extremists.