On Friday, March 20, 2009, fifteen months after the City of Oakland, California, passed a law making it illegal to approach a woman entering an abortion clinic without her consent, Walter B. Hoye II went to jail for standing on a public sidewalk outside an abortion clinic with a sign saying, “God loves you and your baby. Let us help you.”
The ordained Baptist minister could have accepted a lesser sentence of community service, provided he agreed never to return to the clinic. But he preferred spending thirty days in the county jail to forfeiting his constitutional right to free speech and his Christian duty to offer help to women in need, most of whom were black like him. Two higher courts eventually exonerated him: one overturned his criminal conviction, and the other judged that the enforcement of the Oakland “bubble law” was unconstitutional.
Walter’s dramatic days in prison, where he lived and preached the gospel and won the hearts of fellow inmates, are detailed in this book. The political machinations that created the bubble law and then entrapped Walter are also described, using public records. Both stories are told in the context of Walter’s background as the descendant of black slaves and the disciple of his hero Martin Luther King Jr., whose niece, Alveda, has written the foreword for this book.