Silenced Pro-Life Michigan Sidewalk Counselor Gets Legal Help

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Dec 17, 2010   |   5:01PM   |   Detroit, MI

On Wednesday, in Wayne County Circuit Court, the Chicago-based Thomas More Society appeared with veteran sidewalk counselor Chris Coatney to seek dismissal of a personal protective order against him.
The order was entered after the manager of the Summit Women’s Center, a Detroit abortion clinic, alleged Coatney was stalking her by following and threatening her, an assertion he denies.
The motion to dismiss the personal protective order was denied, and the Society will now try to overturn it on appeal or in the trial court.
“This is a gross abuse of the stalking law to suppress the free speech of a 9-year sidewalk counseling veteran,” said Tom Brejcha, president and chief counsel of the Thomas More Society. “It’s a travesty that one of the best sidewalk counselors in Michigan is now prohibited from doing what he is called to do – peaceably and persuasively speaking the message of life to abortion-bound women.” [related]
The alleged incident occurred in September, although Coatney says he has video evidence to prove these allegations are false. Under the current personal protective order, Coatney is required to stay at least 100 feet away from the abortion clinic, thereby prohibiting him from sidewalk counseling, which he has done every day at the abortion clinic since April.
The Detroit area has been the site of a new abortion battle as pro-life advocates work to stop a new Planned Parenthood abortion business the organization its putting together at a facility it purchase in Auburn Hills.