The Church at Planned Parenthood (TCAPP) in Spokane, Washington, has been ordered to pay $110,000 in damages to Planned Parenthood of Greater Washington and North Idaho. According to KXLY, a judge ruled that the church violated state law, and that their meetings interfered with patient care. Their actions, the judge claimed, “created an increased risk of hypertension, increased pain, and a variety of psychiatric symptoms.”
These so-called symptoms were allegedly caused by the group “willfully or recklessly disrupt[ing] the normal functioning of a health care facility” by “making noise that unreasonably disturbs the peace within the facility.”
An injunction was issued against the church last year, with Judge Timothy B. Fennessy ruling the church intends to interfere with the “services” Planned Parenthood provides — namely, abortion. The church holds services on a strip of grass across the street from Planned Parenthood.
The Church at Planned Parenthood was founded by Pastor Ken Peters, serving as a new congregation for Covenant Church. But his goal has not been to harass people; rather, it has been to meet people where they are. “We gotta put legs to our faith,” he said in a previous interview. “We’ve gotta find that balance between being mean and nasty and yelling. We’ve got to find the balance between that and doing nothing.”
However, he also added, “We don’t want to be mean like Westboro Baptist Church.”
With last year’s injunction, congregants were banned from gathering on the grassy area across the street, the sidewalk, or anywhere within 35 feet of Planned Parenthood. Peters initially said they were not sure what their next move would be.
“Even though we feel like the judge is unconstitutional, do we want to pick this battle right now?” he previously said. “And I think that, at this moment, no, until I get some more legal advice and pray about it, I don’t want to defy this order.”
In a statement on Facebook, Peters said the congregants tried to comply with the injunction, and though they lost, he said he would not change anything.
“We lost in court. We appealed and lost again. We owe Planned Parenthood a lot of money for singing, praying and preaching. We owe Planned Parenthood for lawful and peaceful assembly. We obeyed everything the police ever asked us to do. We did it on city property after their murder day once a month,” he said. “The judge said TCAPP’s actions (singing, prayer and preaching) created an increased risk of hypertension, increased pain, and a variety of psychiatric symptoms for Planned Parenthood patients. I would do it again. It’s a badge of honor.”