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.