A Maine jury ruled against a pro-life pastor Wednesday after he allegedly yelled so loudly outside a Portland abortion facility that he disrupted “the delivery of health care services,” including the killing of unborn babies.
The jury’s decision is the latest action in a lengthy legal battle between pro-abortion state leaders and a group of pro-life advocates who regularly stand outside the Planned Parenthood in Portland.
On Wednesday, a jury decided 6-3 that pro-life pastor Brian Ingalls, of Lisbon, broke a state civil rights law in October 2015, The Press Herald reports. The state sued Ingalls three years ago, alleging that he broke the law by yelling so loudly that patients and staff could hear him inside the abortion facility.
As a result, Ingalls could be permanently banned from protesting outside the Planned Parenthood in the future, according to the local news.
Here’s more from the report:
There is no potential financial penalty or jail time, only a court order providing injunctive relief that will limit Ingalls’s activities around the clinic. The state suggested Ingalls be prohibited from coming within 50 feet of the clinic. However Justice MaryGay Kennedy, who oversaw the trial, must first hear related challenges to the Maine law that are expected to be brought by Ingalls’s attorney on different grounds before she can make any final order regarding restrictions on Ingalls’s conduct.
Pro-abortion state Attorney General Janet Mills filed a lawsuit against Ingalls in 2016, alleging that he violated the rights and safety of patients in the second story of the abortion facility where his voice was heard, LifeNews previously reported.
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Mills argued that Ingalls violated Planned Parenthood patients’ rights on Oct. 23, 2015, when his voice carried to the second floor of the abortion facility and interfered with “the delivery of health care services” – almost certainly abortions. Police reportedly told Ingalls not to yell so loudly, but he did not stop.
The Thomas More Law Center, which represents Ingalls, called the case “unprecedented” in a statement in 2016.
“For reasons that can only be described as politically motivated, the Attorney General has transformed an unverified noise complaint by Planned Parenthood into a civil rights complaint against a young Christian pro-life advocate,” the law firm said.
Erin Kuenzig, trial counsel for the firm, said previously: “The Attorney General’s baseless pro-abortion tactic seeks to silence pro-life speech. Such biased action by a state’s chief law enforcement officer is not only unconstitutional, but it also corrupts the entire justice system.”
According to the Thomas More Law Center, the attorney general’s legal actions are based solely on Planned Parenthood’s complaint to the Portland Police Department. The legal firm said the state attorney general is clearly biased in her actions, seizing an opportunity to silence the pro-life message.
In a separate but related case, fellow pro-life advocate Andrew March challenged the Portland noise ordinance, but lost in an appeal to the First Circuit Court of Appeals.
The city and state have been trying to censor pro-lifers’ free speech in a number of ways. In 2013, the Portland City Council enacted a 39-foot “buffer zone” around abortion clinics at the urging of Planned Parenthood, LifeNews previously reported. A judge struck down the ordinance after pro-life advocates sued. An agreement reached in 2016 in U.S. District Court required the city to pay $56,500 in legal fees to pro-lifers, according to the Bangor Daily News.