79-year-old woman arrested and jailed overnight for protesting at Planned Parenthood
KEOKUK, IA, March 17, 2014 (LifeSiteNews.com) – An elderly Iowa woman who was assaulted last year for her pro-life activism spent a night in the county lockup after police arrested her for holding a protest sign in front of a Planned Parenthood abortion facility.
Donna Holman, 79, was arrested March 11 for standing across the street from the Keokuk Planned Parenthood with a sign that read: “Babies are murdered here.” A video of Holman’s interaction with police shows that when officers first approached her, they said she was in violation of a restraining order Planned Parenthood had taken out against her that bars her from having any contact with the abortion giant’s “employees, patients, volunteers, contractors, and those who accompany them.”
Holman and her husband, Dan, pointed out that the restraining order was for the Planned Parenthood in Iowa City, about 90 minutes north of Keokuk. The officers left, but soon returned with an updated order from 2011 that removed the specific location of the Iowa City facility.
Dan told National Review he recalled receiving notice by mail that the restraining order had been changed, but he said the new wording was so broad as to be unenforceable. “The injunction doesn’t specify the place or persons,” Mr. Holman said.
“If you’re going to apply [a restraining order] to all Planned Parenthoods we have to know if they mean everywhere in the world or just Iowa,” he continued. “Also, how are we to know who is a contractor or volunteer and that type of thing? You can bump into them at a restaurant and be in violation of the injunction.” He said he also doubted a judge in a different county had the authority to issue a restraining order applying to a completely different jurisdiction.
A police captain put in a call to the county attorney to ask whether the restraining order did, in fact, apply to the Planned Parenthood in Keokuk as well as the one in Iowa City. While he waited for the attorney to call back, the video shows he spent some time trying to talk the Holmans out of their protest, saying “it isn’t going to do any good,” and calling their pro-life brochures “garbage.”
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When the attorney failed to call back, the officers left without arresting them. It was only later that they showed up at the Holmans’ home, after receiving word from the county attorney that he was siding with Planned Parenthood. They took Donna into custody and she spent the night in Lee County jail.
This is not the first time the elderly woman has been locked up for her pro-life activism. In 2008, she spent 30 days behind bars for contempt of court after a judge insisted she undergo a psychiatric evaluation by a state-chosen doctor and she refused, saying she preferred to use her own doctor. The judge had ordered the evaluation after she was charged with harassment for allegedly yelling, “Don’t kill your baby!” in front of another abortion facility.
“Donna’s been arrested about 14 times and I’ve been arrested somewhere between two and 300 times,” Dan Holman told National Review. “We’ve been through this a number of times, so I can write as good a motion as everyone else.” He said he plans to file a motion to dismiss this latest case, arguing that the restraining order is too broadly written and unclear, was issued by a judge outside of Lee County who lacks jurisdiction, and violates their first amendment rights.
Lee County Attorney Michael P. Short
25 North 7th Street
PO Box 824
Keokuk IA 52632