General Recap & Update (Winter 2004)

Schiavo v. Schindler (Florida)—Michael Schiavo seeks court permission to kill his 37-year-old wife, Terri, by withdrawing food. Terri’s parents oppose the motion; several doctors have expressed the opinion that her condition could improve with appropriate treatment, which Michael has refused to allow. After trial court judge ordered her feeding tube removed, Governor Bush and Florida legislature passed “Terri’s Law”— which has resulted in a temporary delay of Terri’s starvation. Michael Schiavo continues to push hard for the right to starve Terri. Now represented by the ACLU, he is challenging “Terri’s Law.” Terri’s parents were denied permission to intervene in the case in support of the law. For updates, see www.terrisfight.org.

National Abortion Federation v. Operation Rescue (Los Angeles)—Resurrection of 14-year-old case by ACLU and abortion providers to shut down Operation Rescue. Although there have been no clinic blockades in California for ten years, the ACLU could have sought hundreds of thousands of dollars in attorney fees against those who led and participated in rescue activity in the late 1980s. Victory! case dismissed.

Foti v. Planned Parenthood/Planned Parenthood v. Foti (San Mateo)—This action and cross-action between sidewalk counselors and PP and its escorts is now stayed, pending the outcome of a new lawsuit filed by PP in which it seeks a declaration from the court that a speech-free zone injunction it obtained eight years ago against Operation Rescue of California actually applies against these sidewalk counselors and anyone else PP serves it on. Court of appeal reversed the summary judgment in PP’s favor and ruled that injunctions may not bind “all persons with notice.” Case remanded for determination of whether these sidewalk counselors are all now “acting in concert” with ORC because one of them attended some rallies and gave some money to ORC over a decade ago. Case is once again active in the superior court.

Rader v. Rowlins (Glendora)—Pro-life activists arrested for carrying signs on campus of public college. Charges not filed. Claim filed against city and college district. Victory! settlement reached.

Women’s Resource Network v. Gourley (Sacramento)—Constitutional challenge to state system for authorizing specialty license plates. Legislature has refused to authorize “Choose Life” specialty plates promoting adoption, while authorizing plates promoting and benefiting other causes. Victory! Preliminary injunction issued; plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment pending. Briefs available at http://www.freespeechdefense.com

McCullough v. Arthur (Long Beach)— Pro-life activist arrested for handing out literature on public sidewalk in front of a public high school. Police also conducted a warrantless seizure of a videotape of the incident, threatening the videographer with arrest if he didn’t hand over the tape. No charges were filed on the arrest. Civil complaint against city and school district filed. Victory! On November 19, federal district court issued an injunction prohibiting defendants from interfering with the pro-lifers’ expressive activity.

People v. Moreno (Long Beach)—Three pro-life activists arrested on public college campus while showing students the truth about abortion. They were charged with two offenses. Victory! One charge dismissed on demurrer, the other dismissed by the prosecutor on the day of trial.

Meyers v. Mathews (Athens, Ohio)— Pro-lifers arrested for pro-life speech on college green. First Amendment claims were dismissed and injunctive relief denied. Court found that popular student gathering place was not a public forum. Sixth Circuit affirmed the dismissal. Petition for re-hearing pending.

Estavilla v. Romo and West (Yolo County)— etal homicide suit for injury and constitutional violations includes two issues: 1) wrongful death statute is unconstitutional because it denies equal protection to babies killed in utero; and 2) interference with the right to privacy and reproductive rights includes interference with the right to carry a pregnancy to term, not just to have an abortion.

Soria v. Jacobsmeyer—Pro-life activists arrested on public college campus for displaying signs without permit. Pro-lifers were informed that to obtain a permit, they would need to provide proof of liability insurance. In another incident, a pro-lifer was arrested for failing to disperse from an “unlawful assembly.” No criminal charges filed. Claim against college district filed. Victory! Settlement reached.

Mason et al. v. Wolf (Denver)—Picketers and leafletters arrested at University of Denver. Civil suit filed. Defendants’ motion to dismiss denied in large part, as was their motion to stay proceedings. Discovery is now under way.

People v. Owen (Washington)—Pro-life activist arrested for trespass while picketing a Seventh-Day Adventist Church. Victory: case dismissed. Civil suit for false arrest and first amendment violations initiated.

Corrigan v. UC (Davis)—Pro-life counterdemonstrator falsely arrested for disturbing the peace at Roe v. Wade celebration at UC Davis. Complaint filed against UC. Settlement reached.

Pedigo v. Hershey (California)— Amniocentesis detrimentally used on pre-born child with improper consent. Civil suit filed.

People v. Moorissey (New York)—Pro-lifer enters clinic to warn client has eaten recently and risks aspiration complications, charged with criminal trespass, misbehavior, harassment. Trial set for spring.

O’Toole v. Foothill/De Anza Community College District (Cupertino)—Pro-lifers arrested and signs confiscated on public college campuses after they displayed signs disapproved of by the administration. Charges not filed. Claims filed against college district.

Kelly v. Orange (California)—Nurse Karen Kelly, who was fired for not violating her pro-life convictions sued the County of Orange for wrongful termination and religious discrimination. Ninth circuit court of appeal pending. Oral arguments set for March.

Cano v. Bolton (Georgia)—Sandra Cano and Norma McCorvey have filed to reopen their Roe v. Wade cases. LLDF filed amicus brief in support of effort.

O’Toole v. San Diego Community College District—Pro-lifer arrested and held for carrying sign on public college campus; he was released two days later, without having been cited. Claim filed and rejected. Civil suit to be filed shortly.

Milton v. Serrata (San Francisco)—Pro-lifers arrested or threatened with arrest for holding signs on public university campus. No criminal charges filed. Civil complaint filed.

Redmond v. Owen (Washington)—Pro-lifer cited for violating sign ordinance. Victory!

People v. Arvela (Stockton)—Sidewalk counselor charged with erecting a sign in the city. Trial pending.

Author: Life Legal

The Life Legal Defense Foundation is a non-profit law firm that specializes in the defense of vulnerable human life, especially life in the womb.