Thursday, October 22, 2015

Pro-lifers Muzzled — Maine City Must Pay $56,500

As a result of a consent judgment approved by Judge Nancy Torresen of the U.S. District Court in Portland, Maine, the city of Portland will pay legal fees of pro-lifers who were barred from public property near the Planned Parenthood abortion clinic by an unconstitutional ordinance.
“This judgment is significant because it is a formal and binding legal recognition that the city of Portland violated the plaintiffs’ First Amendment rights through its ‘buffer zone’ ordinance. There was no legitimate basis for banning the plaintiffs and other law-abiding citizens from using the public sidewalk surrounding Planned Parenthood’s abortion clinic during the company’s business hours.”
-- Erin Kuenzig, Attorney with the Thomas More Law Center in Michigan
For background, read U.S. Supreme Court Rules Unanimously that Christians are Free to Speak near Abortion Clinics

Click headlines below to read previous articles:

Government Pays $275,000 for Pro-lifers' False Arrests

Idaho University Pays $20,000 to Unmuzzle Pro-lifers

Wyoming Pays $30,000 for Censoring Pro-life Posters

Harassment of Pro-lifers Costs Illinois City $$

Ohio College Pays $9,000 for Censoring Pro-life Free Speech

-- From "Portland settles lawsuit bought by anti-abortion activists over no-protest zone ordinance" by The Associated Press 10/21/15

The city of Portland has settled a lawsuit filed by anti-abortion activists challenging an ordinance that established a 39-foot no-protest zone around a clinic providing abortions.

The suit alleged that the ordinance, responsible for creating the buffer zone around a Planned Parenthood location's entrance, violated their free speech rights. A 2014 U.S. Supreme Court ruling established that a similar no-protest zone in Massachusetts was in violation of free speech rights.

The Portland City Council repealed the ordinance in question soon after, but a judge determined that protesters could still seek damages for when the buffer zone was in effect.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Portland settles lawsuit, must pay abortion protesters’ legal fees" by Scott Dolan, Staff Writer, Portland Press Herald 10/21/15

Jessica Grondin, spokeswoman for the city of Portland, said the City Council “acted swiftly” by repealing the city ordinance at its first meeting after the Supreme Court ruled in the Massachusetts case.

An attorney for the activists – Daniel and Marguerite Fitzgerald of Shapleigh and their children and Richmond resident Leslie Sneddon – said last year, after the city repealed its buffer zone ordinance, that they wanted to continue the federal court litigation against the city to set a precedent.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "High court voids abortion clinic protest-free zone" by Mark Sherman, Associated Press 6/26/14

The Supreme Court unanimously struck down the 35-foot protest-free zone outside abortion clinics in Massachusetts Thursday [June 2014], declaring it an unconstitutional restraint on the free-speech rights of protesters.

While the court was unanimous in the overall outcome, [Chief Justice John] Roberts joined with the four liberal justices to strike down the buffer zone on narrower grounds than the other, more conservative justices wanted.

In a separate opinion, Justice Antonin Scalia criticized Roberts’ opinion as carrying forward “this court’s practice of giving abortion-rights advocates a pass when it comes to suppressing the free-speech rights of their opponents.”

Scalia said state and local governments around the country would continue to be able to “restrict antiabortion speech without fear of rigorous constitutional review.” Joined by Justices Anthony Kennedy and Clarence Thomas, Scalia dissented from the Colorado decision and said Thursday he would have overturned it.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Judge dismisses most of lawsuit over since-repealed abortion clinic buffer zone" by Seth Koenig, Bangor Daily News Staff 10/27/14

A federal judge on Monday declared most aspects of a lawsuit against the city of Portland moot, pointing out that the abortion clinic buffer zone being challenged in the lawsuit was repealed by the city months ago.

But U.S. District Court Judge Nancy Torresen stopped short of dismissing the lawsuit in its entirety, leaving alive a motion by the plaintiffs, a group of anti-abortion protesters, to seek nominal damages from the city for the period of time in which they weren’t allowed to demonstrate near the clinic on Congress Street.

City officials and Planned Parenthood representatives said the buffer zone protected the civil rights of patients to access health care services, and they accused the anti-abortion demonstrators of being intimidating and belligerent to individuals approaching the facility.

The protesters argued the buffer zone infringed upon their constitutionally protected right to free speech. The demonstrators said allegations of aggressive behavior were overblown, as evidenced by the fact that police never issued them any summonses for impeding public ways or disorderly conduct.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

Also read how public schools across America muzzle pro-life students and ban pro-life student clubs.