Kansas Pro-Life Advocate Loses "Stink Bomb" Abortion Protest Lawsuit
by Steven Ertelt
June 11, 2008
Wichita, KS (LifeNews.com) — Employees of the late-term abortion center in Wichita run by George Tiller were victorious in small claims court on Tuesday. The court ruled against Mark Gietzen, the chairman of the Kansas Coalition for Life, who sought damages related to a "stink bomb" used against him.
Representatives of the Women’s Health Care Services abortion center stand accused of using a stink bomb to sicken and intimidate pro-life advocates trying to persuade women to not have abortions.
Gietzen is seeking $4,000 in damages after an incident last September when security guard John Rayburn placed a "stink bomb" on the parking lot side of a cedar plank fence directly next to where pro-life supporters usually stand.
Gietzen says the device emitted a powerful stench that sickened him and other pro-life people who had just convinced a possible abortion customer not to follow through with her appointment.
He says he and others suffered from headache and nausea afterwards.
However, Judge Steven Woodring ruled Geitzen failed to show he suffered any damages from the device.
"The judge ruled that Tiller has the right to stink bomb us if he wants to as long as the stink bomb is on his property," Gietzen told the Wichita Eagle after the ruling. "I fully expect it to be used on us again."
Geitzen told the newspaper he didn’t plan on appealing the ruling because, if he lost on appeal, he would be forced to pay for Rayburn’s attorney fees in the case.
However, he said he plans to contact local city officials and urge them to ban the use of stink bombs within city limits.
"I’m not going to let this go," he told the Eagle.
At the hearing last month, WHCS administrator JoAn Armentrout argued the abortion center was improperly sued since Rayburn is an independent contractor hired to provide security. She told the court that Rayburn’s Diamond Security company was the entity that should be sued.
Judge Woodring ordered that Gietzen amend his complaint to include Diamond Security.
"This was a punitive act by Tiller’s clinic that was obviously meant to get even with sidewalk counselors for saving a baby," said Operation Rescue spokesperson Cheryl Sullenger about the incident.
"People were sickened by this chemical attack, which no one at WHCS is denying took place. There should be some legal repercussions to this kind of behavior."