Federal Judge Rules Against NY Attorney General in Pro-Life Harassment Case

Posted: Jul 22, 2018 3:11 PM

Christians News reports that a federal judge has ruled in favor of 13 pro-life Christians in a lawsuit filed by the Office of the Attorney General of New York claiming that the demonstrators had “harassed” women at Albany abortion provider.

Judge Carol Bagley Amon ruled that former NY Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s office failed to provide evidence that “Christians outside Choices Women’s Medical Center engaged in conduct that would rise to the level of willful harassment.” 

“The interactions on the sidewalk outside Choices were generally quite short, and there is no credible evidence that any protester disregarded repeated requests to be left alone over an extended period or changed his or her tone or message in response to requests to be left alone in a way that suggested an intent to harass, annoy, or alarm,” she wrote.

“The OAG [Office of the Attorney General] has failed to show that any defendant had the intent to harass, annoy, or alarm a patient, companion, or escort; thus, it has failed to show that any defendant has violated NYCCAA [the New York City Clinic Access Act], as interpreted by the OAG,” Bagley Amon added.

However, Bagley Amon did rule that one protester engaged in illegal behavior by blocking the entryway to the facility. "As long as a protestor does not blockade a clinic entrance or exit, he or she is free to stand or pace with a sign unless and until he or she interferes with another person’s passage to or from the facility,” Amon sad. "The OAG argues that most of the defendants in this case have physically obstructed patient, companion, and escort access to Choices. A careful review of the video, photo, and testimonial evidence presented at the preliminary injunction hearing and reveals that only B. George illegally obstructed access to Choices," she added.

Former NY AG Schneidermann alleged that the pro-lifer demonstrators engaged in a pattern of harassment for repeatedly using signs, making statements such as “You have the blood of dead babies on your hands” and “They are killing babies above your heads,” as well as passing out pamphlets and literature. 

According to Christian news, the demonstrators are members of local churches. One pastor and defendant in the case stated his thanks to God for the ruling. "We thank the Lord that our life-affirming work to counsel women considering abortion was upheld in federal court,” Kenneth Griepp, senior pastor at Church @ The Rock told media. “As Christians who seek to honor Jesus, like Him, we will continue to offer compassion to those who see abortion as the only way out of an unexpected pregnancy. We said from the beginning that the charges against us were baseless and an offense to the First Amendment. We are grateful for the court’s thoughtful and detailed opinion that vindicates our rights.”