A pro-life church has been ordered to pay the Planned Parenthood abortion chain nearly $1 million in fines and fees for holding supposedly disruptive worship services outside of its Spokane, Washington facility.
According to The Christian Post, a judge ruled against The Church at Planned Parenthood in 2021, saying its pro-life members “interfered” with patients’ “access to health care” in violation of state law during worship services outside its Spokane abortion facility.
Then, in January, the court ordered the church to pay $110,000 in damages and $850,000 in legal fees to Planned Parenthood, The Guardian reports.
Responding to the order, Pastor Ken Peters said the case basically came down to the issue of a single hour.
“Planned Parenthood Sues our little church for Peaceful Assembly and it costs Christians $850,000 for mostly Corrupt Lawyer’s Fees,” Peters wrote on Facebook. “The only difference… We have to do 7pm instead of 6pm, and go across the street. $850k over one hour and across the street. Wow. That’s a lot of money they stole from the Kingdom over one hour. We are restarting again March 14 at 7pm. See you there Pacific NW. It ain’t over.”
Planned Parenthood and Legal Voice filed a lawsuit against the church in 2020. They claimed the pro-life Christians were bullying patients and staff and interfering with Planned Parenthood’s work. They also claimed the pro-life ministry has been “interfering with patients’ access to healthcare,” because patients sometimes could hear pro-lifers from inside the building.
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Church leaders said they held services after hours, but Planned Parenthood leaders claimed some patients still were in the building when the services took place.
“Staff were forced to shuttle patients between offices and patients sometimes chose not to follow through with their appointments, rather than run through the gauntlet of armed protesters blocking their way,” according to Legal Voice, the pro-abortion legal group that represented Planned Parenthood in the case.
However, city police said they have not had problems with the pro-life church, the Spokesman Review reported in 2020. Pro-life sidewalk counselors, pro-life protests and other outreaches are overwhelmingly peaceful, and Church at Planned Parenthood leaders said they conducted their worship services after Planned Parenthood closed for the evening.
Leaders of The Church at Planned Parenthood say they are not protesters. Their purpose is to worship God and pray for repentance “of our blood guiltiness in this abortion holocaust.”
“The Church at Planned Parenthood is a gathering of Christians for the worship of God and the corporate prayer for repentance for this nation, repentance for the apathetic church and repentance of our blood guiltiness in this abortion holocaust,” according to the ministry.
In 2021, however, Judge Timothy B. Fennessy prohibited the church from holding services within 35 feet of the abortion facility, The Spokesman-Review reported at the time. His order also banned The Church at Planned Parenthood from holding services between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m. while patients still are inside the building.
“Reasonable minds can only reach one conclusion, that Covenant Church [which founded The Church at Planned Parenthood] intends to interfere with access to or safe and effective delivery of healthcare services” Fennessy wrote.
Since the church formed in 2018, abortion activists have been trying to restrict its life-saving work. In 2020, the Spokane City Council voted to expand a noise ordinance outside abortion facilities and health care facilities in the city. Pro-life leaders believe the vote directly targeted pro-life sidewalk counselors and The Church at Planned Parenthood.
Recently, the ministry also began holding services outside abortion facilities in other states, including Tennessee and Georgia.
In an interview with Prayer Link, a CBN talk show, Peters said he staunchly believes that the pro-life movement will succeed in the battle to protect the defenseless.
“The Bible says that hell will not prevail against the church, but I think if the church does not engage, then hell has free reign. So, what we’re doing is taking church right to the gates of hell knowing that we will win,” he said.