General Recap & Update (Summer 2007)

People’s Advocate v. Independent Citizen’s Oversight Committee (Calif.)—Suit for declaratory and injunctive relief to prevent expenditure of public funds for research focused on embryonic stem cells and cloning. Adverse ruling from trial court, upheld by court of appeals. Petition for review to state supreme court denied.

Roe v. Planned Parenthood (Cincinnati, Ohio)—Civil action for damages and injunctive relief filed against PP for performing abortion on fourteen-year-old girl in violation of Ohio law. Claims on behalf of girl and parents include violation of parental notice and consent statutes, informed consent statute, and law requiring reports in cases of suspected child abuse. PP’s motion to dismiss four of the claims was overruled, and PP unsuccessfully appealed that decision. Plaintiffs proceeded with discovery seeking redacted records of abortion on other minors. PP objected, but court ruled that records must be produced. PP appealed, and decision from Ohio Court of Appeal is pending.

Pedigo v. Hershey (Calif.)—Amniocentesis detrimentally used on pre-born child with improper consent. Civil suit filed. Case proceeding in trial court.

Rader v. Akins (Calif.)—Suit against Riverside Community College for arrest of pro-lifers engaged in free speech activity. Settled for damages and attorney fees.

Logsdon v. Hains (Ohio)—Federal civil rights lawsuit for damages filed against two Cincinnati police officers for arresting sidewalk counselor at abortion clinic without probable cause. Lower court dismissed based on qualified immunity, but Sixth Circuit reversed, holding that a “prudent” officer would listen to witnesses on both sides, rather than only listening to clinic employee and telling pro-lifers to “tell it to the jury.” Case remanded for further proceedings in trial court.

Storms, et al. v. CSU Los Angeles—Pro-lifers arrested for remaining on campus after being told they could only hold signs in a deserted area near campus police station. Charges dismissed. Civil rights action filed against university police officers. Case settled with damages, attorney fees and expungement of arrest record.

Mason v. Sullivan—Pro-lifers arrested for engaging in free speech activity on Santa Barbara City College campus and engaging in free speech activity. After charges dismissed, civil rights action filed, District court granted motion to dismiss. Appeal to Ninth Circuit filed, and decision is pending.

Moreno v. Los Gatos (Calif.)— Pro-lifers arrested for picketing and distributing literature on public sidewalk outside high school. Police told them they had to stay 1,000 feet from the school. No charges filed. Complaint for civil rights violation filed. Town has agreed to permanent injunction and payment of attorney fees. Appeal pending re statutory damages for plaintiffs.

National Tax Limitation Foundation v. Westly (Calif.)—Suit challenging grants for training in embryonic stem cell research made pursuant to Prop 71, a California initiative providing $3 billion in funding for embryonic stem cell research. Grants violated Prop 71 in that University of California employees were permitted to vote on grants to UC. Case dismissed where appellate decision in People’s Advocate v. ICOC decided issue adversely to plaintiffs.

Berkeley v. Blythe—Pro-lifer arrested for holding signs and literature on main plaza at UC Berkeley. Case dismissed. Civil suit pending to challenge constitutionality of trespass ordinance used.  South Dakota School of Mines v. Cox— One pro-lifer arrested and others forced off campus immediately upon arriving to engage in free speech activity. Charges dismissed. School is evaluating speech policy change.

Fairbanks v. Planned Parenthood (Ohio)—Lawsuit filed alleging that PP violated Ohio law by failing to report the sexual abuse of minors. The suit alleges that Fairbanks was brought to PP by her father, who had been sexually assaulting her since she was thirteen. He sought an abortion for his daughter at PP to cover up the sexual abuse and resulting pregnancy. Although minor attempted to tell PP personnel of abuse, they ignored her and failed to report, allowing abuse to continue.

Jackson v. Weimer (Miss.)—pro-life picketer charged with local sign ordinance violation. Trial pending.

St. John’s Church in the Wilderness v. Scott (Colo.)—Pro-lifers who picket church with abortion ties enjoined from demonstrating on all sidewalks in the vicinity of the church, because signs upset churchgoers. LLDF filed amicus brief in support of pro per defendants’ appeal.

Spitz v. Chesapeake (Virginia)—Police confiscated and destroyed pro-life signs. Lawsuit pending.

Cypress College v. Blythe (Cypress, Calif.)–-Pro-lifers arrested for not staying in “free speech area” on public campus, when “free speech area” was in construction zone. Charges dismissed.

Sonora College v. Lord (Calif.)—Pro-lifers arrested for “trespass” on public college campus after complaints from pro-abort. Charges pending.

Logsdon v. Cincinnati Women’s Services—Civil action in Ohio court for defamation and conversion against Cincinnati abortion clinic and clinic owner for interfering with sidewalk counselor’s pro-life signs and for false reports to police that led to two arrests. Clinic closed and clinic owner filed for bankruptcy and was granted final bankruptcy discharge. Case was recently reactivated and placed on the active docket.

Update

A year ago, Lifeline reported on the efforts of attorney Michael Sharman to close a Planned Parenthood facility in Charlottesville, Virginia, for violation of local zoning laws. (Lifeline Vol. XV, No. 2) Mr. Sharman recently sent this update:

On July 25, 2007, the circuit court judge denied Planned Parenthood’s summary judgment motion, on the basis of a prior default judgment entered against it. The combined effect of the declaratory judgment Decree of April 2006 and the July 25, 2007 summary judgment ruling is that Planned Parenthood: a) is judicially deemed to be operating a medical center or hospital in an area without the proper zoning to do so, and b) cannot deny those charges in this case. It is the plaintiff landowners’ firm belief that with those powerful rulings now securely lodged in the case file, they are now only one or two more hearings away from finally closing Planned Parenthood’s doors in Charlottesville.

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.