by Thomas More Law Center –
… to Learn the Fate of their Sidewalk Ministry –
ANN ARBOR, MI – Yesterday, June 19, 2014, Thomas More Law Center (TMLC) attorney, Erin Kuenzig, argued for a preliminary injunction that would allow pro-life sidewalk counselors to resume their pro-life activities outside Planned Parenthood’s sole abortion facility in Portland, Maine. Ever since November 18, 2013, when the Portland City Council enacted a 39-foot no-entry “buffer zone” around the abortion facility, pro-life sidewalk counseling has been effectively curtailed because the plaintiffs were forced to stand across the street from the abortion facility.
The oral arguments, totaling approximately one hour, concerned the need for a preliminary injunction and were heard by U.S. District Court Judge Nancy Torresen. Judge Torrensen stated that the outcome of the case as well as the motion for preliminary injunction hinged upon the Supreme Court’s decision in a Massachusetts 35-foot buffer zone case, McCullen v. Coakely, which is expected within the next two weeks.
The initial lawsuit was filed by the Thomas More Law Center (TMLC), a national public interest law firm based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, in February 2014 on behalf of pro-life advocates Leslie Sneddon and Marguerite Fitzgerald and her family in response to Portland city ordinance 17-108. At the urging of Planned Parenthood, the ordinance established the 39-foot “buffer zone” around Portland’s only abortion facility under the pre-text of public safety.
However, TMLC attorneys noted that prior to the enacting of the pro-abortion buffer zone, “there had been no arrests or public safety issues at the Planned Parenthood in accordance with sidewalk counseling,” indicating that the ordinance was enacted to make “the public
1 sidewalk open to one class of people, while excluding another based upon the point of view of one’s speech.”
In discussing the underlying issues at stake in the case, Kuenzig stated, “The city needs to show that they have not burdened more speech than is necessary to accomplish their goals and if there’s already laws on the books that they could enforce that would restrict less speech, it has to be shown why they haven’t done that.”
Video Interview with Erin Kuenzig
Currently, the U.S. Supreme Court is considering the case of McCullen v. Coakely, based on a Massachusetts law which established a 35-foot no-entry buffer zone around abortion facilities. Numerous legal pundits have speculated on the outcome of McCullen as well as its likely impact on the future of pro-life sidewalk counseling and outreach activities including those at stake in Portland.
The Thomas More Law Center defends and promotes America’s Judeo-Christian heritage and moral values, including the religious freedom of Christians, time-honored family values, and the sanctity of human life. It supports a strong national defense and an independent and sovereign United States of America. The Law Center accomplishes its mission through litigation, education, and related activities. It does not charge for its services. The Law Center is supported by contributions from individuals, corporations and foundations, and is recognized by the IRS as a section 501(c)(3) organization. You may reach the Thomas More Law Center at (734) 827-2001 or visit our website at www.thomasmore.org.
Catherine McMillan Office: 734-827-2001
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Ann Arbor, Michigan 48105
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