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New Hyde Park opines on anti-abortion sign

An anti-abortion sign hangs on a fence owned

An anti-abortion sign hangs on a fence owned by Holy Spirit Roman Catholic Church in New Hyde Park, just in front of a sign welcoming people to the village's business district. (Feb. 21, 2012) Credit: Nicole Bartoline

Directly across from Holy Spirit Church, on the corner of South 6th Street and Jericho Turnpike in New Hyde Park, a sign hangs on the church-owned fence. It reads, “Life, what a beautiful choice,” and includes the image of a sleeping infant.

Perched just behind the fence is a sign provided by the village for the downtown shopping district. At first glance from a car or the sidewalk, it can appear that the anti-abortion campaign and village sign occupy the same space, although they actually don’t.

When asked, local residents had mixed feelings about the signs, and their placement.

“I’m not one way or the other about this stuff, people will get crazy at anything,” Bill Perrine, who visits the church twice a week, said recently. “It doesn’t matter to me, I’m just about live and let live, that’s all.”

But not everyone took the placement lightly. Mike Steen, who used to live in neighboring Bellerose and still spends a lot of time in New Hyde Park, noticed the sign while working in the area. He thinks the church may have been trying to send a message, specifically because of its proximity to the village sign.

“There just shouldn’t be anything that political playing off of, or near, the town sign,” said Steen. “I don’t like the idea of it, not at all.”

New Hyde Park Mayor Dan Petruccio said that he has yet to hear any complaints from residents, and that he has not been contacted by anyone regarding any information about it. As a result, he is not worried about the placement.

“I’m not in the least bit concerned about the placement of the sign,” said Petruccio. “People are going to think what they want, anyway.”

Sean Dolan, director of communications for the Diocese of Rockville Centre, thinks that the sign is just an exercise of the church’s First Amendment rights.

“It is a part of the Catholic view, and it is the right to be in the public square,” said Dolan. “The sign is on private property. We’re just hoping that for people who are walking or driving by, it will make an impression on them.”

Denise Giangrande of New Hyde Park, said that she only really noticed what the anti-abortion sign meant while stopped at a light one day.

“When I noticed it, it made me uncomfortable,” Giangrande said. “But I’m not sure why exactly.”

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