State of Maine Sues to Muzzle Pro-Life Preacher

Maine Attorney General Janet Mills has decided that the women waiting inside a Portland clinic to lose their babies to an abortionist have heard more than enough from Brian Ingalls.

Police warned him. They said doctors, nurses and patients were complaining. Ingalls refused to put a lid on it.

So, Mills has filed a lawsuit to shut him up for good — or at least move him far enough away from the Planned Parenthood clinic that his warnings about a dismal afterlife for those who take the life of an unborn child can’t be heard. But attorneys for the Thomas More Law Center argue that is a violation of the man’s constitutional rights and they are committed to standing alongside Ingalls in court.

The 26-year-old man was outside the Planned Parenthood healthcare facility so often he was close to being a streetlight. Ingalls was out there nearly every day, preaching so loudly against abortion and about Jesus that doctors and nurses on the second floor, where the abortions happen, say the noise was interfering with their work.

Ingalls could face fines of as much as $5,000 for each time he violates a 50-foot buffer zone that Mills wants to create outside the Planned Parenthood clinic.

Mills said in a statement that her office understands the need to protect Ingalls’ First Amendment rights. But Mills also said there is another “right” involved in this case as far as she is concerned -- the right to adequate medical care.

She said the Maine Civil Rights Act protects the right of any person to receive any sort of medical services without disruptions caused by loud noises. As Mills explained it, the statute makes it a civil rights violation to intentionally make noise at such a volume that it can be heard within a building where medical treatment is provided, when the violator has been warned to cease making such noise and when he has the intent to interfere with the safe and effective delivery of health services.

“All patients have the right to receive medical services free of ‘the cacophony of political protests,’ in the words of the United States Supreme Court,” said Attorney General Mills. “While protesters have every right to say anything they want in a public area in the vicinity of a medical facility, they are not permitted to disrupt another citizen’s healthcare services.”

But Richard Thompson, the Thomas More Law Center’s president and chief counsel and a former prosecuting attorney, said Mills’ lawsuit is nothing but “a blatant abuse of her powers to aid the pro-abortion political establishment dominating the city of Portland.”

This is not the first time the Thomas More Law Center has waged a legal battle in Maine over anti-abortion protests outside the Planned Parenthood clinic in Portland.