Kansas Woman Heads to Court to Assert Free Speech Rights on Abortion
by Steven Ertelt
August 11, 2009
Overland Park, KS (LifeNews.com) — A Kansas woman is headed to court tomorrow to assert her free speech rights to protest outside the Planned Parenthood abortion business in Overland Park. In March, the Kansas city filed criminal charges against Kansas City Catholic Diocese employee Carrie Kafka.
City officials sued her saying she violated a city ordinance by allegedly obstructing traffic entering and leaving the abortion center’s parking lot even though video evidence proves she never obstructed traffic.
The pro-life legal group Alliance Defense Fund is handling Kafka’s case and attorney Daniel Blomberg will be in court tomorrow to defend her.
Pro-life advocates shouldn’t be arrested on baseless charges when they are simply exercising their First Amendment rights, Blomberg told LifeNews.com. After abandoning its groundless arrest for trespassing, the Overland Park Police came up with the unsubstantiated charge of blocking traffic, which prevented Carrie from exercising her free speech rights. We are pleased to be arguing in her defense at trial.
Nearly every Friday and Saturday for several years, without incident, pro-life advocates have stood on a public sidewalk next to a Planned Parenthood parking lot to share information with women seeking or considering abortions when they pulled into the driveway.
Kafka has participated personally on a monthly basis for over a year in helping women find abortion alternatives.
Careful not to trespass or obstruct traffic from entering or exiting the Planned Parenthood abortion center, Kafka peacefully offered pregnant women educational material to help them make an informed choice.
She only interacted with those willfully stopping their cars in the driveway and inviting dialogue.
In March, Kafka was arrested without warning by Overland Park Police for criminal trespass, even though she never entered onto Planned Parenthood property, ADF officials said. Because of this fact, the charge was quickly changed to allege that Kafka obstructed vehicles entering and leaving the parking lot.
Security video from the scene shows that Kafka never entered private property and that she never prevented vehicles from entering or exiting the clinic, but in fact encouraged drivers to move on when vehicles approached from behind, ADF contends.
ADF attorneys argue that not only is the citys obstruction ordinance unconstitutionally vague, but that officers should not have arrested Kafka because she never violated the ordinance and, before citing and arresting her, they failed to first order Kafka to cease her conduct and leave as the ordinance clearly requires.
In June, ADF filed a motion to dismiss City of Overland Park v. Kafka from Overland Park Municipal Court.
Related web sites:
Alliance Defense Fund – https://www.telladf.org
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