September 21, 2019
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Maine jury says anti-abortion activist violated state’s civil rights law

Troy R. Bennett | BDN
Troy R. Bennett | BDN
Members of the Cell53 church protest outside Portland’s Planned Parenthood clinic in August 2017.

A Superior Court jury has found that an anti-abortion activist from Lisbon violated the Maine Civil Rights Act by yelling so loudly outside a Planned Parenthood facility in Portland that he disrupted patients and workers inside.

The state brought a complaint in October of 2015 seeking to bar Brian Ingalls from coming within 50 feet of any of Maine’s Planned Parenthood facilities. That was just days after Ingalls allegedly continued to yell toward the second floor of the Planned Parenthood office, despite being directed by police to lower his voice.

“Our view is that even though we are just looking for injunctive relief that the case was important to bring to protect the access to the clinic,” says Assistant Maine Attorney General Leanne Robbin. “Those women going to the Planned Parenthood clinic have are right to health care services just other patients at other health care facilities do.”

Robbin says she is gratified that the jury found in the state’s favor.

“If the jury had ruled otherwise, I shudder to think of what, of how the conduct would have escalated on that sidewalk outside of 443 Congress Street,” she says.

Robbin says it’s now up to the judge to decide the scope of the injunction. She says the lawyers representing Ingalls have already indicated they plan to challenge the constitutionality of the law as it applies to their client. They have not responded to requests for comment.

This article appears through a media partnership with Maine Public.

 



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