Maine’s top law enforcement officer, a Democrat, has done something without precedent.
Attorney General Janet Mills has sued a pro-life pastor for civil rights violations. She contended that Pastor Brian Ingalls’s protests outside a Planned Parenthood clinic are too loud, demonstrating “his intent to interfere with the safe and effective delivery of health services at Planned Parenthood.” From the Christian News Network:
All patients have the right to receive medical services free of ‘the cacophony of political protests,’ in the words of the United States Supreme Court,” she wrote in a statement. “While protesters have every right to say anything they want in a public area in the vicinity of a medical facility, they are not permitted to disrupt another citizen’s health care services.”
Mills’s intentions certainly are clear, but is filing a lawsuit against an abortion opponent justified in this context? The police asked the pastor, who spoke against murdering unborn babies, to lower his voice. He apparently didn’t lower it enough. It seems that the state passed this law with abortion clinic demonstrators in mind:
2. Violation. It is a violation of this section for any person, whether or not acting under color of law, to intentionally interfere or attempt to intentionally interfere with the exercise or enjoyment by any other person of rights secured by the United States Constitution or the laws of the United States or of rights secured by the Constitution of Maine or laws of the State by any of the following conduct:
After having been ordered by a law enforcement officer to cease such noise, intentionally making noise that can be heard within a building and with the further intent either:
(1) To jeopardize the health of persons receiving health services within the building; or
(2) To interfere with the safe and effective delivery of those services within the building.
Mills doesn’t want Pastor Ingalls any closer to the clinic than 50 feet. She might want to check a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision. Last summer, the justices unanimously struck down a 35-foot buffer zone at abortion clinics in Massachusetts on First Amendment grounds.
Photo credit: dalurton1 (Creative Commons)