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Archive for Thursday, June 16, 2011

Judge set to decide lawsuit over Kansas abortion doctor

June 16, 2011

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— A judge who decided against ordering an anti-abortion activist to stay away from an abortion doctor he allegedly threatened now must decide whether to throw out a lawsuit the U.S. Justice Department filed against the activist.

U.S. District Judge J. Thomas Marten is weighing whether to toss the lawsuit against Angel Dillard, which the department filed under a federal law aimed at protecting access to abortion services. The government contends the 44-year-old Valley Center woman sent a threatening letter to Dr. Mila Means, a Wichita doctor who is training to offer abortion services at her practice.

Dillard wrote a rambling letter in January saying thousands of people from across the United States were looking into Means’ background: “They will know your habits and routines. They know where you shop, who your friends are, what you drive, where you live. You will be checking under your car every day — because maybe today is the day someone places an explosive under it.”

Marten, calling the First Amendment the “absolute bedrock of this country’s freedom,” denied in April the government’s request for a preliminary injunction seeking to keep Dillard at least 250 feet away from the doctor. He said at the time that although Dillard’s letter was clearly meant to intimidate Means, it did not constitute a “true threat.”

The judge also ordered both sides to present written briefs before he sets a hearing on a defense request to dismiss the lawsuit, which was filed by the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division under the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act. A hearing date has not yet been set.

The last of those court pleadings was filed late Tuesday night — setting the stage for a courtroom showdown on the limits of First Amendment protections that will decide whether the Justice Department’s civil complaint survives.

Dillard’s defense attorney, Donald McKinney, argued in his filing that in order to comply with First Amendment safeguards the government must show that the speech consisted of more than intimidation and that the speaker intended to inflict bodily harm, rather than cause “merely anxiety or fear.”

“Angel Dillard is entitled to First Amendment protection,” McKinney wrote. “She has already paid dearly to defend herself from the government’s onslaught. The First Amendment should be eroded no further.”

The government contends Dillard’s speech is not protected by the First Amendment, arguing in a court document that the reference to explosives under the doctor’s car is impossible to downplay.

“It is the crux of the threat and presents a truly frightening image, and any attempt to minimize its importance as Defendant does is simply to ignore reality,” the Justice Department wrote. “Moreover, Defendant cannot hide her threat behind the guise of political statements.”

Abortions have not been openly performed in Wichita since Dr. George Tiller, one of the nation’s few late-term abortion providers, was fatally shot in May 2009 by anti-abortion activist Scott Roeder as the physician served as an usher at his Wichita church.

Comments

Liberty275 3 years, 2 months ago

"“Moreover, Defendant cannot hide her threat behind the guise of political statements.”

Dillard was doing the baby-killer-in-training a favor by warning her that people might do dangerous things if Means kills babies. If Dillard had written "I will put a bomb under your car", that would be a threat.

Is English a second language for you people?

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MyName 3 years, 2 months ago

Hey, if you think that such a letter is completely harmless, and in fact helpful, why don't you send the Doctor a warning letter too? And pay no attention to anything you get from the DAs office or the Police. They're just trying to trample on your free speech rights.

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yourworstnightmare 3 years, 2 months ago

"However, it’s not all one way – many celebrities have voiced support for legalized abortion or Planned Parenthood’s organizational goals. According to Life Decision International, actors and actresses such as Alan Alda, Gillian Anderson, Kevin Bacon, Alec and William Baldwin, Ellen DeGeneres, Kirsten Dunst, Lucy Liu, Rob Lowe and Paul Rudd support Planned Parenthood and/or legalized abortion. Meanwhile, musicians such as Ani Difranco, Cyndi Lauper, Barbara Streisand , Christina Aguilera, Iggy Pop and Lisa Loeb are also on Life Decision International’s list."

http://newmusicnews.org/kanye-west-and-justin-bieber-weigh-in-on-abortion

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Liberty275 3 years, 2 months ago

Probably not. God doesn't let them abide homosexuality.

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MattyPro12 3 years, 2 months ago

And so it goes, right wing terror threats posing under the sham that is christian morals strikes again.

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MyName 3 years, 2 months ago

There's no difference between ticking someone off and making threats on their life. Clearly they are equally important and protected by the law.

And the first runner up in the ignorant comment of the day contest goes to....

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1029 3 years, 2 months ago

This article was confusing, but I think the main point here is that babies are being murdered and it needs to stop.

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ivalueamerica 3 years, 2 months ago

a fetus is not a baby, and abortion is legal. Radical Christian Supremacy needs to stop. Forcing women to breed, especially after rape in when giving birth will put their life in jeopardy needs to stop.

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jhawkinsf 3 years, 2 months ago

Putting the issue of rape to the side, I'll ask this question just as it regards to the risk of giving birth putting a woman's life in jeopardy. Isn't it true that the very act of giving birth caries some risk, smaller now than in the past, and hopefully decreasing with greater technology. But there is always some risk in giving birth. There seems to be some legitimate grey area in determining what is an acceptable risk and what is not. If a doctor were to say to a woman that the pregnancy is going quite normally with little or no increased risk to her, but she found the very small risk unacceptable, even late into the pregnancy, would that be legitimate?

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kansanjayhawk 3 years, 2 months ago

Late abortion has even more risk than delivering the baby.

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kansanjayhawk 3 years, 2 months ago

In what planet are you living if you say a fetus is not a baby? It is a develping human life in the womb and as such deserves special legal protection. You need to go back to biology 101 and you will discover that the fertilized egg grows to become a child! All this fetus needs is nutrition and water it will grow to be just as big and strong as you or I.

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ClaroAtaxia 3 years, 2 months ago

The ironic part is that by their own religious beliefs, these types of people would indeed burn in hell in the afterlife. Almost makes you want to believe in one just for that! lol

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jafs 3 years, 2 months ago

So it's ok to intimidate people now?

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sr80 3 years, 2 months ago

just make sure you say ( someone) will do the deed, not you !!!

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beatrice 3 years, 2 months ago

How old is a child before it is no longer considered a baby? Would that be about 2 years old? 3 years old perhaps? I'm the baby of my family, and that is ... well, a lot of years.

Are people really killing 2 year olds and older folks and getting away with it?

Sorry, but it isn't just a semantic argument, it is about what words actually mean. The "killing babies" line is incorrect, and it is the equivalent of a Godwin argument. Stand behind the falseness of the statement if you like, but know that it is false.

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beatrice 3 years, 2 months ago

The semantic argument actually begins with "they kill babies." What you describe is the correction to the false statement.

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kansanjayhawk 3 years, 2 months ago

Well they are not gerbals are they? certainly they are babies inutero.

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jafs 3 years, 2 months ago

They are fetuses in utero.

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Cait McKnelly 3 years, 2 months ago

And a fried egg is a cooked "chicken in utero".

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kansanjayhawk 3 years, 2 months ago

Unbelieveable that you make that analogy...your worldview is completely anti-Christian as you support the slaughter of the innocents!

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nepenthe 3 years, 2 months ago

Some of us grew up and stopped being Christian about the time we reached the age of reason.

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Kate Rogge 3 years, 2 months ago

If we took abortion out of the case and just looked at the threats made, wouldn't that be enough to warrant an injunction to keep Dillard at least 250 feet away from the doctor? If I wrote to you and said "thousands of people from across the United States ... know your habits and routines. They know where you shop, who your friends are, what you drive, where you live. You will be checking under your car every day — because maybe today is the day someone places an explosive under it.” wouldn't that be enough to take seriously? How is that protected free speech and not a serious threat from a disturbed person?

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kansanjayhawk 3 years, 2 months ago

I tend to agree with you if the judge determines that an actual threat existed. I'm afraid sometimes the issue gets twisted into something that it is not.

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yourworstnightmare 3 years, 2 months ago

Ms. Dillard certainly has the right to say these things about bombs under cars and monitoring movements and so forth.

Ms. Means also has the right to file an injunction under federal law that prohibits harassment of abortion clinics and providers.

Dillard's are clearly terror tactics designed to intimidate with threats of violence and harm.

Any rational human being must realize that these tactics have no place in modern society, even if they disagree with a woman's right to choose an abortion (or in the parlance of extremists, to murder her baby*).

*"Baby" in this case meaning a human embryo or fetus, and "murder" meaning to terminate a pregnancy, to destroy the embryo or fetus).

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yourworstnightmare 3 years, 2 months ago

@liberty275 "However, it’s not all one way – many celebrities have voiced support for legalized abortion or Planned Parenthood’s organizational goals. According to Life Decision International, actors and actresses such as Alan Alda, Gillian Anderson, Kevin Bacon, Alec and William Baldwin, Ellen DeGeneres, Kirsten Dunst, Lucy Liu, Rob Lowe and Paul Rudd support Planned Parenthood and/or legalized abortion. Meanwhile, musicians such as Ani Difranco, Cyndi Lauper, Barbara Streisand , Christina Aguilera, Iggy Pop and Lisa Loeb are also on Life Decision International’s list."

http://newmusicnews.org/kanye-west-and-justin-bieber-weigh-in-on-abortion

How can you possibly use as your avatar a creep who supports murdering babies?

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jhawkinsf 3 years, 2 months ago

This is clearly not protected speech and she should be prosecuted for sending threats through the mail. She belongs in jail.

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Tristan Moody 3 years, 2 months ago

If someone had written something like to the president, the Secret Service would jump down their throat so fast the wouldn't have time to cough. To call this protected speech is one of the most idiotic defenses I've ever heard. It would take an olympic level of mental gymnastics to state that this isn't threatening or intimidating speech..

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verity 3 years, 2 months ago

Who are you classifying as "first amendment whackos"?

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verity 3 years, 2 months ago

Question to someone with legal knowledge:

The article seems to make a difference between threatening and intimidating speech ("Dillard’s defense attorney, Donald McKinney, argued in his filing that in order to comply with First Amendment safeguards the government must show that the speech consisted of more than intimidation and that the speaker intended to inflict bodily harm, rather than cause 'merely anxiety or fear.'"

Can somebody clarify if there is a legal difference?

Obviously Ms. Dillard intended to influence Dr. Means' actions and keep her from doing something that is legal by making her afraid for her life.

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verity 3 years, 2 months ago

Oops, sorry, forgot to close parenthesis.

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ivalueamerica 3 years, 2 months ago

and yet Most Bible thumpers simply ignore the fact that the Bible instructs priests to perform abortions on adulterous women.

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Armored_One 3 years, 2 months ago

When the hell did women become property again? Did I miss a memo or something?

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Armored_One 3 years, 2 months ago

Well, yer the one that is sitting here demanding that there be legislation in place to remove a woman's right as to what to do with her body.

Self determination is one of the luxuries of freedom, so I thought there was a movement going on to turn them back into property or something.

I'm not, however, going into the fetus vs. baby argument. Science has proven time and time again that a fetus is not a viable life before a certain point. Up to that point, it may as well be a giant parasite or something, serving no other use than to suck up nutrients from the host creature and cause and undue amount of stress, strain, fatigue and other such issues.

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Armored_One 3 years, 2 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

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kansanjayhawk 3 years, 2 months ago

Face it most pro-aborts don't give a rip about what God or the Bible say about abortion. Abortion was illegal when this country was Christian dominated and as we have become more secular we have become more barbaric allowing the killing of these children.

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Cait McKnelly 3 years, 2 months ago

There are so many errors in this statement I don't know where to start. Let's rip it apart sentence by sentence, shall we? 1. "Face it most pro-aborts don't give a rip about what God or the Bible say about abortion." First, there is no such thing as "pro-abortion" anymore than there is "pro-life". There are people who believe in "anti-choice" and there are people who are "pro-birth" and there are people who believe in "pro-choice". To say anyone is "pro-abortion" is an ad hominem attack. Get your terms straight. Second, making claims about the belief systems of people with which you disagree is very shaky and risky when you have no proof of your claim. 2. "Abortion was illegal when this country was Christian dominated and as we have become more secular we have become more barbaric allowing the killing of these children." First, abortion wasn't outlawed in the US until the middle to late 19th century and the causes of the passage of those laws had nothing to do with religion but were secular in origin rooted in the Industrial Revolution and the rise of certification and licensing of physicians. Not even the Catholic Church definitively outlawed abortion until the 1880's. Prior to this time, abortion was not only not against the law but wasn't even particularly socially taboo. Second, according to the medical community a fetus is not a "child". There isn't a medical school in this country that teaches a fetus is a "child". Using hot button terms that are falsehoods to describe something to emotionally sway your argument gains you nothing. Bottom line, using your belief in the fallacy of the "good old days" is not only factually incorrect, it's argumentatively weak and based in falsehood.

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kansanjayhawk 3 years, 2 months ago

revisionist and incorrect history will not sway opinions either. Abortion was always considered a criminal act under the common law.

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kansanjayhawk 3 years, 2 months ago

Face it most pro-aborts don't give a rip about what God or the Bible say about abortion. Abortion was illegal when this country was Christian dominated and as we have become more secular we have become more barbaric allowing the killing of these children.

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kansanjayhawk 3 years, 2 months ago

It is not the woman's body... it is the body of the developing fetus i.e. the unborn baby.

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kansanjayhawk 3 years, 2 months ago

I guess that means you can "exterminate" the fetus up until the moment of birth? I think you need to re-evaluate that position it is a slippery slope toward complete moral anarchy.

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kansanjayhawk 3 years, 2 months ago

That's because it is in improper interpretation. Amazing someone who does not believe the Bible to be authoritative in the first place would try to interpret it? I guess it doesn't really matter to you?

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Cait McKnelly 3 years, 2 months ago

Actually, dunno about him/her but it certainly means nothing to me. On the other hand if people are going to use it to justify their beliefs/actions it behooves those of us that have actually read the book to point out the fallacies in it. As for your claim of "improper interpretation", it amazes me that people think they can use a document to support and justify their position then "cherry pick" what statements from the document they choose to use to support that position then ignore the rest.

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kansanjayhawk 3 years, 2 months ago

The only "cherry picking" I have seen is from those who don't believe that the Bible is the authoritative Word of God. Actually the Bible says that those that refuse to believe have been blinded by the god of this world! Look at the anger behind your hatred of God and Christian people and evaluate where that anger is coming from.

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verity 3 years, 2 months ago

Last I heard, abortion was still legal.

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kansanjayhawk 3 years, 2 months ago

Yes--but there are regulations and laws that these butchers have to follow--or they will be shut down!

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