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It Is Now “Free Speech” To Send Threats and Intimidate Abortion Providers

It Is Now “Free Speech” To Send Threats and Intimidate Abortion Providers

A anti-abortion “activist” who was facing charges for attempting to threaten and intimidate a Kansas doctor who performs abortions will likely not be sued for violating the FACE (Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act) act.  A judge dismissed an injunction today against Angel Dillard, stating that her letter to Dr. Mila Means was an attempt at intimidation but not a “true threat,” as it couldn’t be proven that Dillard intended to commit violence against the doctor personally.  The letter, according to U.S. District Judge J. Thomas Marten, was a means of intimidation, yes, but still covered under freedom of speech.  Judge Marten also alluded that the the entire lawsuit against Dillard was likely to be dismissed, too.

CJ Online reports:

“The First Amendment is the absolute bedrock of this country’s freedom and I think the ability to express an opinion on a topic that is important to one — even if it is controversial — has to be protected so long as the line is not crossed and becomes a true threat. I don’t think this letter constitutes a true threat,” Marten said in his ruling from the bench.

Dillard, of Valley Center, wrote in her rambling letter in January that thousands of people from across the United States were looking into Means’ background.

“They will know your habits and routines. They know where you shop, who your friends are, what you drive, where you live,” the letter said. “You will be checking under your car everyday — because maybe today is the day someone places an explosive under it.”

Dillard is a known friend of Scott Roeder, who is currently serving a life sentence for the premeditated murder of abortion provider Dr. George Tiller, shooting him while he attended a Sunday service at his church.  According to Ms. Magazine, “Dillard told AP “With one move, (Roeder) was able…to accomplish what we had not been able to do…So he followed his convictions and I admire that.”

Judge Marten’s ruling will now open up a new level of intimidation by anti-choice groups like Operation Rescue, who already put out fliers, protest the homes of, and otherwise stalk and harass doctors who perform abortions.  By declaring the right to “intimidate as long as you don’t actually intend to cause physical harm personally” he has set in place a legal precedent that opens doctors up to every form of harassment possible as long as no actual purposeful physical harm is caused.

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141 comments

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10:47PM PDT on Aug 26, 2012

Hey, if stalking, an expression of hate and implied threats are OK with that judge, shouldn't we all send a duplicate of that letter to that judge, adapted to his circumstances?

Or would that be not only wrong but somehow suddenly illegal after all?

10:37PM PDT on Aug 26, 2012

I think free seech is very important however speech that promotes violence towards a certain group of people, or animals (such as pit bulls), is NOT OK. If you want to say that you hate a certain group of people and that you think that group of people is horrible and disgusting then that is fine. HOWEVER if someone were to promote ANY type of violencetowards someone or make threats to them that is no longer free speech but hate speech which is a crime (at least as far as I understand it is).

4:01PM PDT on May 1, 2011

wow-weee, they can do this, but they want to throw anyone in jail for calling someone a dumbnut,fat cow, fugly butt, looser, anything via the internet

ehy. "i'm not trolling I'm holding a protest against (your/their) stupidity"

I thought free speech was just for politics, but it -does- include harassment? and violent entertainment.

6:54PM PDT on Apr 27, 2011

Nicole; I appreciate and respect your view. That is what makes this country great. We are allowed, though some on both sides of the issue become enraged when hearing opposing sides, to express without condemnation. Thank you for your graciousness and I didn't mean to be so brash. It's just that those on the pro choice side get attacked often from those who are on the opposing side and it is easy to, at times, become defensive because of the intolerance.

7:08AM PDT on Apr 27, 2011

Thank you Kathleen, I understand your point and I appreciate your answering me. I asked this question because I have seen people charged with murder in situations like this. In fact I believe it was just last month a woman attempted to commit suicide by consuming rat poison. She was saved, but the baby died, she was charged with 2nd degree murder.

I'm sorry to anyone here who finds my view offensive, but it is my belief, agree with it or don't, that's your choice. I just feel that if there are other options it should be explored and the infant saved. I do not however dislike a person who has had an abortion, I have friends who've had them, I just don't personally like the choice they made.

Now I'm done with this thread as it seems I am in the minority here and don't wish to continue arguing over my beliefs or yours.

8:43PM PDT on Apr 26, 2011

Typo correction: should read if destroying the fetus results (after punching in stomach)the man has denied the woman....(the man should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

5:51PM PDT on Apr 26, 2011

Nicole; Sorry that I offended. What I should have said is this: The difference is; if a man comes up to a pregnant woman and punches her in the stomach, it is assault and battery, and, if the fetus, no matter at what stage the pregancy, is depriving that woman of her rights, to bring into this world, hopefully, a healthy, wanted and loved baby. A woman who is pregnant and finds herself unable to carry to term a fetus, (and let me point out, it is not for us to judge her reasons for deciding on abortion)it again, is her right, to make that decision for HER OWN BODY. Those of us who are pro choice are not pro abortion (as so many on the right love to accuse us of). That means, no matter what I peronally feel or believe, in my heart and mind, I will not sit in judgement of a woman making a decision that will forever affect her life. She will have to make and live with that choice, not you, not I, not anyone else but the pregnant woman. It is the law.
That Nicole, is the difference between the two hypotheticals you posed.

7:14AM PDT on Apr 26, 2011

Agreed with Cindy B! In fact, the more these wack jobs who call themselves pro life protest, the more it makes me believe in abortion!

10:07PM PDT on Apr 25, 2011

@ Kathleen D.
I don't call your opinions or questions rediculous, there's no need for you to say mine are. It was a very simple question which you apparently took offense to without looking at the question itself. If the difference is as you say, then that can't be murder, it would be causing the loss of something someone wanted, but not murder. Death is death, murder is murder. I simply asked for a clarification and explanation. I didn't ask the question to cause a fight (argument, whatever you want to call it), I asked the question because I wanted to hear a good answer. Tell me the real difference, but don't call me rediculous. That's just uncalled for. Not once in this or any other thread have I personally called anyone a name or insulted anyone intentionally, I'd thank you to return the favor and show me the same respect, no matter if you agree with my view or not.

8:46PM PDT on Apr 25, 2011

The birth and existence of WACK JOBS -- really, idiots! -- such as Dillard and her ilk: the best argument for abortion you could ask for.

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