A pro-life display booth will be returning to a Maryland city's annual community event after not being allowed the year before.
The Respect Life booth, which is overseen by St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church in Hampden, will be seen among many other events, booths, and games at Hampdenfest 2012, which will take place Saturday.
Deacon Monti Montalto of St. Thomas Aquinas told The Christian Post that the Respect Life booth started making annual appearances in 2006 at Hampdenfest as a project of the Church's Respect Life Committee.
"Since 2006 our goal is to educate people on 1) fetal development using actual size dolls [and] 2) to provide any woman in a crisis pregnancy situation with information on various free services that are available through one of many Centers," said Montalto.
"We do not show any graphic pictures of aborted babies. We also have information for women who may have had an abortion and are experiencing post-abortion stress."
According to Montalto, the booth will display "fetal dolls and literature" as well as showcase the services that the Respect Life Committee offers.
Last year, Hampdenfest organizers barred St. Thomas Aquinas Church from having a booth at the event in response to claims made by some that the Respect Life booth was engaging in offensive proselytizing and using graphic anti-abortion imagery. According to organizers, no complaints were made in 2010 over the Planned Parenthood booth.
"The promoters accepted the unsubstantiated testimony that we provided objectionable material. We gave a presentation to the sponsoring business association and provided them with the dolls and literature," said Montalto.
"We were accepted this year."
According to local media, Hampdenfest 2012 organizers will nevertheless keep a close eye on how the Respect Life booth operates and interacts with attendees.
Co-sponsored by the Hampden Village Merchants Association and the Hampden Community Council, Hampdenfest is an annual community event that features an arts festival and other attractions. The event includes four stages for music and art performances, as well as four blocks of vendors and booths.
One featured happening at the Saturday event will be the "Toilet Race Competition," where entrants will race modified toilets with proceeds going to the Skate Park of Baltimore in Roosevelt Park.
The Respect Life booth was placed in front of the Hampden Family Center. It is a placement that Montalto told CP he has no objection over.
Hampdenfest 2012 organizers did not return a request for comment by press time.