Church gathering near Planned Parenthood ordered to pay almost $1M

A church that gathers outside a Planned Parenthood abortion facility has been ordered to pay $960,000 because its demonstrations “interfere with patient care.”

In December, a judge fined the church in Spokane, Washington, after he determined that the group’s meetings “created an increased risk of hypertension, increased pain, and a variety of psychiatric symptoms,” impacting women visiting the abortion facility. Now, the church has also been ordered to pay $850,000 in addition to the original $110,000, to cover Planned Parenthood’s legal fees. The abortion giant had been embroiled in a legal battle with the church since 2020.

The church’s founder, Pastor Ken Peters, told The Spokesman-Review that his insurance company will be covering the fees.

“We’re there to exercise our First Amendment rights. We weren’t trying to stop abortions,” Peters said. “We were there to peacefully protest because of, what we feel like, is the murder of human lives.”

The ruling was condemned by Esther Ripplinger, executive director of the pro-life group Human Life of Washington, an affiliate of the National Right to Life Committee.

“What we’re seeing is an attack on pro-life, period,” Ripplinger told Catholic News Agency. “It’s an attack on life and it’s unfair. And it’s singled out. These are just trumped-up charges and I hope that they fight it to the fullest extent of the law.”

She added, “These are people who engage and mobilize other people who believe that abortion is wrong, and so they have the right to do that, to assemble together on public property. Absolutely no laws were broken here. This is really just a witch hunt against the organizers and against what they believe, and it’s not fair.”

Peters said that he is not letting this loss stop his church from gathering. Though they originally used to meet at 6 pm, which was when the abortion facility was closing anyway, they will now meet at 7 pm.

“Planned Parenthood sues our little church for peaceful assembly and it costs Christians $850,000 for mostly corrupt lawyer’s fees. The only difference … we have to do 7 pm instead of 6 pm and go across the street. $850k over one hour and across the street. Wow,” he wrote on Facebook.

He added, “That’s a lot of money they stole from the Kingdom over one hour. We are restarting again 14 March at 7pm. See you there Pacific NW. It ain’t over.”

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