Federal judge rules against attorney general's lawsuit targeting 13 sidewalk counselors
NEW YORK (ChurchMilitant.com) - A federal judge in New York is vindicating a group of pro-life activists.
On the evening of July 20, Judge Carol Bagley Amon of the U.S. Eastern District Court of New York ruled in favor of 13 pro-life sidewalk counselors. The N.Y. Attorney General, Eric Schneiderman, had sued the pro-lifers, accusing them of obstructing business and harassing customers outside Choices Women's Medical Center, an abortion mill in Queens. Judge Amon rejected Schneiderman's motion for preliminary injunction.
Attorneys from the Thomas More Law Center (TMLC) argued on behalf of two of the pro-life counselors. TMLC announced the judge's decision in a press release Monday, which quotes attorney Tyler Brooks: "A radical state attorney general abandoned his duty to enforce the law fairly in favor of pursuing an ideological campaign intended to silence pro-life Christians."
"A radical state attorney general abandoned his duty to enforce the law fairly in favor of pursuing an ideological campaign intended to silence pro-life Christians."
Brooks added, "The federal court, however, has seen through the State of New York's efforts and made clear that the free speech of Christians will not be censored simply because some people on the Left do not like it."
TMLC attorney Kate Oliveri said, "Judge Amon sent a clear message to the New York Attorney General's Office that the First Amendment does indeed guarantee the right of citizens in New York to have their own viewpoint."
Brooks and Oliveri represented two of the sidewalk counselors named in the lawsuit. Other defendants were represented by the Thomas More Society and Liberty Counsel.
Liberty Counsel commented on the recent ruling, saying that the attorney general "intended ... to silence the pro-life and Christian messages he despised."
The judge's decision noted, "Among the protest groups are congregants from Church at the Rock; congregants from Grace Baptist Church; a group called the Helpers of God's Precious Infants; a Catholic group; and various 'independent' protestors."
The protesters would gather for several hours outside the abortuary on Saturday mornings. In response to the pro-life protests, the abortion mill recruited "escorts" to lead clients into the facility and stand between the women and the pro-lifers.
Judge Amon's decision noted, "On a typical Saturday, there are two to three dozen protesters and escorts, with the escorts often outnumbering the protesters two to one."
The TMLC press release notes that video evidence was used in the case, and much of it was footage from the abortion mill's security cameras. TMLC went on to say, "Judge Amon found that not a single video introduced into evidence substantiated the ... allegations against the sidewalk counselors."
"Judge Amon found that not a single video introduced into evidence substantiated the ... allegations against the sidewalk counselors."
According to TMLC, the attorney general's lawsuit accused the pro-lifers of "obstruction of abortion facilities, and harassment and intimidation of women who were seeking abortions."
The lawsuit also "petitioned the federal court to create a 16-foot buffer zone around Choices abortion premises and levy fines, attorney fees and compensatory damages against the Defendants."
Schneiderman filed the lawsuit in 2017, announcing it in a press conference outside of Choices on June 20, 2017. During the event, he made the surprising claim that the United States is "not a nation where you can choose your point of view."
Schneiderman has since resigned from his post as attorney general after physical abuse allegations surfaced in May this year. Four women allege that Schneiderman slapped, punched or choked them. Three of them claim he abused them during relationships, while the fourth accuser claims that Schneiderman slapped her in the face after she rejected his advances.
Original article at Church Militant, here.