Pro-life church group returns across street from Spokane Planned Parenthood

Months after being ordered to pay $110,000 in damages to Planned Parenthood of Greater Washington and North Idaho, as well as an additional $960,000 in legal fees, the Church at Planned Parenthood has returned, meeting across the street from the abortion business once again.

In 2021, an injunction against the church was issued by Judge Timothy B. Fennessy, who said the church intentionally interfered with Planned Parenthood’s “services” — abortion. Within the next year, a judge ruled that the church violated state law and interfered with patient care and had to pay the six-figure fine. Their actions, he said, “created an increased risk of hypertension, increased pain, and a variety of psychiatric symptoms” in Planned Parenthood’s clients due to “willfully or recklessly disrupt[ing] the normal functioning of a health care facility” by “making noise that unreasonably disturbs the peace within the facility.”

Ken Peters, the pastor of the Church at Planned Parenthood, spoke to the Spokesman-Review in February, and said the majority of the fees were covered by insurance. “We’re there to exercise our First Amendment rights. We weren’t trying to stop abortions,” he said. “We were there to peacefully protest because of, what we feel like, is the murder of human lives.”

He also didn’t shy away from the injustice of the legal fight between his church and Planned Parenthood. “It’s like I have no chance against this bazillion dollar organization,” Peters said. “I got crushed by the steamroller, but that’s what they do to babies, so.”

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Paul Dillon, Vice President of Public Affairs for Planned Parenthood of Greater Washington and North Idaho (and now a candidate for Spokane City Council) claimed their lawsuit was not meant to intimidate, but to supposedly protect patients.

“Every judge’s decision had affirmed our claims and there needs to be accountability for anti-abortion harassers,” he said. “It’s about keeping the injunction permanent, that has led to safer outcomes for our patients and providers. Their presence was certainly interfering with operations.”

Yet Peters denied that argument, saying their goal isn’t to interfere with Planned Parenthood operations, as the group’s meetings across the street were often scheduled after the facility’s business hours. And they’re continuing to preach, scheduling events throughout this year, with their first having taken place mid-month. In compliance with Fennessy’s ruling, the group met at 7:00 pm, but Dillon complained that the church began setting up before 7:00 pm; the 80 attendants didn’t show up until after the allotted time, and Gabe Blomgren — a pastor at On Fire Ministries — didn’t begin singing until after 7:00 pm either. The theme for their event was “Not Backing Down.”

Several Planned Parenthood supporters tried to instigate a conflict, with one person holding a sign that read “Ken Peters Loser,” while another actually crossed the street to the church and confronted Peters face-to-face. Police got involved, and the man, William Hulings, was told he could be charged with disorderly conduct if he did it again.

In his speech, Peters encouraged people to keep coming, saying that the ruling was a “crazy, rigged-up, satanic stronghold corruption. But guess what, everybody? We’re still here.”

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