A federal judge, last week, stopped the Obama administration from targeting a peaceful pro-life advocate helping provide abortion alternatives to women heading to an abortion facility in Louisville, Kentucky.
In January 2010, David Hamilton was peacefully and lawfully handing literature to women entering EMW Surgical Center, an abortion clinic. He was not only interfered with illegally by abortion facility volunteers who locked arms to block him from talking to women, but he faced legal action from the Obama administration.
The Department of Justice prosecuted him for allegedly assaulting a volunteer who actually assaulted him. The “escort” attempted to forcibly block Hamilton to prevent him from sharing literature with women entering the clinic that explained other options to them.
Over a year after the date of the incident, rather than serving the clinic volunteer with a legal complaint for the illegal conduct, the Department of Justice served Hamilton with a legal complaint, alleging that he violated the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act. The Life Legal Defense Foundation, a pro-life legal group, stepped in to provide Hamilton with legal support in court. The Obama administration lawsuit seeks a $15,000 penalty and $5,000 in compensatory damages.
Last week, a federal judge hit the brakes in what U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder had assumed would be a “slam dunk” case against the pro-life sidewalk counselor. The judge’s refusal to grant a summary judgment comes on the heels of FACE case rulings supporting the rights of pro-life sidewalk counselors outside of abortion clinics in West Palm Beach and Denver.
In March, the Department of Justice dropped charges against Colorado pro-life advocate Kenneth Scott, and the following month dropped the case against pro-life sidewalk counselor Mary Susan Pine of Florida and paid her $120,000 in damages.
In court action to defend Hamilton, the Life Legal Defense Foundation provided funding and legal support to attorneys Vince Heuser and Michael Hirsh, and the team was able to stop the summary judgment. As a result, in a decision on September 20, 2012 from the Western District Court of Kentucky Louisville Division bench, the judge recognized that there are issues of fact to be determined, and therefore would not grant Holder’s motion for summary judgment.
“I’m certain the Attorney General’s office thought this was going to be an easy case with a forgone conclusion,” said Dana Cody, Executive Director of the Life Legal Defense Foundation, “but the federal court has recognized that there are two sides to every story.”
Cody’s observation is based, in part, on recent cases out of Florida and Colorado in which federal courts have upheld the rights of individuals to peaceably offer information on alternatives to women seeking abortions.
“U.S. courts are charged with protecting the freedoms of all American citizens,” said Cody. “Sidewalk counselors have the same rights as other people. The Life Legal Defense Foundation wants to ensure that those rights are protected.”
The Obama administration’s lawsuit came months after it partnered with leading pro-abortion organizations to host an FBI training seminar partnered with leading pro-abortion organizations with the main focus of declaring as “violent” the free speech activities of pro-life Americans.
On August 25, 2010, the FBI and the United States Department of Justice co-sponsored a training seminar with Planned Parenthood, the National Abortion Federation and the Feminist Majority Foundation.
When information about the seminar, which took place at FBI headquarters in Portland, Oregon, reached pro-life advocates, they asked officials for permission to attend and were granted access to the seminar and the training materials.
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FBI and Obama administration officials provided participants with an 84-page document entitled “Resource Guide: Violence Against Reproductive Health Care Providers” that contained print copies of Power Point presentations prepared by the Justice Department and an analysis of alleged pro-life “violence” prepared by the pro-abortion groups.
The so-called violence perpetrated by pro-life advocates mostly contained examples of constitutionally-protected free speech, including activities such as praying, providing women outside abortion centers with alternatives information, and peaceful protesting or picketing.
The EMW Women’s Surgical Center in Louisville is the abortion business that was caught on videotape covering up a potential case of sexual abuse of a minor.