Planned Parenthood Loses Attempt to Deny Pro-Lifer’s Free Speech Rights Outside Its Clinic

State   |   Tom Ciesielka   |   Jun 8, 2016   |   1:34PM   |   Sioux City, IA

The Thomas More Society-Omaha announced today that charges against pro-life advocate Steve Beller have been dismissed. In a case that pitted a Sioux City Planned Parenthood clinic’s claim of trespassing against freedom to stand on a public right of way, the attorney for the State opted to dismiss charges.

There were several eye witnesses and an experienced legal defense team ready to commence trial and protect Beller’s First Amendment rights. This is the second time that Thomas More Society-Omaha attorneys have shut down unfounded legal harassment by Planned Parenthood, the first being similar charges against pro-life advocate Peggy McGinty in 2014.

Attorney Martin Cannon of the Thomas More Society-Omaha branch explained, “The State’s attorney took the responsible action once he recognized that there were no legitimate grounds to the allegations.” Cannon suggested that the Planned Parenthood staff disregarded Beller’s constitutionally protected freedom of speech on the public right-of-way.

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“We applaud the fact that justice was served in this case, as it was two years ago when similar charges were brought against pro-life advocate Peggy McGinty,” added Cannon. “If either of these citizens had faced charges on their own, the outcomes may have been different,” he stated, “The Thomas More Society is experienced in defending the right of individuals to share their pro-life beliefs in the public square, including the public right-of-way outside of abortion clinics.” In each case, Cannon had the assistance of attorney Zachary Hindman as local counsel.

Cannon noted that Beller and McGinty are not the only pro-life advocates who have been targeted by Planned Parenthood. He stated, “The Thomas More Society-Omaha stands ready to defend the legal and constitutionally-protected rights of any citizen engaging in these pro-life activities.”

Read the original police report documenting the events leading up to Beller’s arrest here.