The Latest: Civil trial starts for anti-abortion activist

AP News
|
Posted: May 03, 2016 1:13 PM
The Latest: Civil trial starts for anti-abortion activist

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The Latest on the civil trial of an anti-abortion activist accused of threatening a Kansas doctor (all times local):

12:10 a.m.

A Justice Department lawyer says an anti-abortion activist intended to intimidate a Kansas doctor by suggesting in a letter that someone might place an explosive under her car.

Angel Dillard's civil trial began Tuesday in Wichita. The federal government is suing her under a law aimed at protecting women's access to abortion services and is seeking damages, financial penalties and an order of protection keeping her away from Dr. Mila Means.

One of Dillard's attorneys told jurors that the government is trying to shut down free speech about matters with which it disagrees.

Dillard sent the letter to Means in 2011, when Means was training to provide abortions. At the time, there hadn't been any doctors providing abortions in Wichita since the 2009 killing of Dr. George Tiller by an anti-abortion zealot.

___

1:40 a.m.

A Kansas anti-abortion activist is facing civil trial in federal court this week over a letter she sent to a Wichita physician saying someone might place an explosive under the doctor's car.

Opening statements are expected Tuesday in the government's lawsuit against anti-abortion activist Angel Dillard under a federal law aimed at protecting access to abortion services. Jurors must decide whether the letter constitutes a "true threat."

Dillard has argued the letter was constitutionally protected speech.

The Justice Department sued Dillard in 2011 for sending the letter to Dr. Mila Means, who had been training to offer abortions. At the time, no doctor was performing abortions in Wichita in the wake of the 2009 slaying of Dr. George Tiller by an anti-abortion zealot.