Skip to comments.Anti-Abortion Grandpa Facing DC Clinic Lawsuit
Posted on 04/05/2012 12:52:30 AM PDT by Pinkbell
Dick Retta stands outside a Planned Parenthood clinic in downtown Washington three days a week, trying to persuade pregnant women not to get abortions. The 80-year-old grandfather has been coming to the clinic for eight years and said he's personally persuaded over 400 women to leave this clinic and others.
Retta says his approach is friendly, gentle and loving. Government lawyers portray him differently, calling him "among the most vocal and aggressive anti-abortion protestors" outside the clinic.
In court documents, they say he routinely follows patients entering the building and yells at them as the clinic door closes. Last year he physically blocked a woman from entering the clinic, shouting at her not to kill her baby, they say.
As a result they sued Retta over last year's incident, using a 1994 law that makes it a crime to intimidate or interfere with someone obtaining reproductive health services. He is one of a handful of people nationwide charged every year under the law. Lawyers for the government and Retta have a meeting before a judge Thursday to see if they can come to an agreement in the case, but it's unclear how likely that is.
"They'd like to get rid of me," said Retta, who acknowledges he's persistent and assertive with his message but denies ever blocking access to the clinic.
The Rockville, Md., resident attends Mass daily at a Roman Catholic church. He first began going to abortion clinics, which he calls "abortion mills," in 1998. He was recently retired and saw a note in a church paper inviting people to pray there. At first, he just prayed, but a few years later he took a class on what he calls "sidewalk counseling," approaching women entering clinics.
(Excerpt) Read more at abcnews.go.com ...
He was sued under the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act. The U.S. Department of Justice, which brought the case against Retta in federal court in Washington, declined to comment on the case as is standard practice in ongoing cases.
Retta's lawyer, Jim Henderson, denies in court documents that Retta blocked the woman from entering the clinic. She had approached Retta for help, he wrote, and volunteers were leading her into the clinic against her wishes. He said Retta didn't shout or yell but said to the woman, "don't let them force you to have an abortion," a statement protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution.
Henderson said in a telephone interview Wednesday that the Justice Department under President Barack Obama seems to have an increased interest in litigating similar cases, with a four others filed in 2011 but none between 1999 and 2006, according to government statistics.
The whole article is worth a read. Here's a man who gives 3 days every week in order to save lives. He has been yelled at, had flyers pushed out of his hands, been pepper sprayed, and had to deal with the deathscorts (thats my name for the volunteer "escorts" who guide the women into the clinics and away from the evil prolifers).
Note that he claims he has saved 400 lives. Why are they angry? That's 400 customers whose money they didn't recieve. He was harmful to their profit line, so they fixed some charges on him with the aid of Holder's DOJ to keep him away. If they really cared about choice, they would want the women to hear both sides. They don't, however, as evidenced by their fury over mandatory ultrasound laws.
Then surely there is video footage of him doing so.
One might think so. I’ve heard that some picketers to clinics take cameras with them to film their protest specifically so charges can’t be pinned on them.
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