NEW YORK, June 3, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) — The Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of a pro-life group by granting them a rehearing and re-instating a district court decision allowing the pro-lifers to continue to gather outside an abortion facility and offer prayerful support to mothers.
The Thomas More Society has been representing the group — consisting of members of Brooklyn’s [email protected], including Pastor Kenneth Griepp — since 2017, when former New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman filed a legal case against 13 pro-lifers who were engaging in peaceful pro-life activity and witness outside an abortion facility in New York.
Schneiderman accused the group of harassing mothers who were going into the abortion clinic, claiming that the group had issued threats and had been violent towards women going into the facility. He sought to establish a 16-foot buffer zone around the business, and to put an end to the weekly pro-life vigil, which he described as “a weekly pattern of threatening, obstructive and violent activity by a network of anti-abortion protestors at Choices Women’s Medical Center in Jamaica, New York.”
He also sought compensatory damages and additional financial penalties against the pro-lifers.
The Thomas More Society’s Martin Cannon argued that the case against the pro-lifers was “without basis,” as there was “not one documented and verified instance of the force, threat of force, physical obstruction, or following and harassing, of which he has accused our clients.”
Pro-lifers had been “peacefully” coming to the abortion center since 2012, the Thomas More Society argued, and the proposed injunction sought by Schneiderman was a violation of the pro-life group’s First Amendment rights. Peaceful pro-life activity is “specifically protected” both in New York’s own Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances law and in the Federal Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act, or FACE Act.
The district court issued a 103-page ruling in favor of the pro-lifers in 2018, in a hearing in which Schneiderman “failed to show that any defendant had the intent to harass, annoy, or alarm a patient, companion, or escort” entering the abortion facility.
Schneiderman himself was forced to resign following allegations of physical and sexual abuse. However, his successors in the Office of the Attorney General, Barbara Underwood and Letitia James, appealed the decision made by the district court.
Then, on March 10, 2021, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals reversed part of the district court decision, ruling against the pro-lifers, and classified certain actions as violating the FACE Act. Actions which the judges deemed to violate FACE Act, now included attempting to hand leaflets to people, causing them to be delayed by “one second … at most,” along with giving a leaflet to a car driver who had voluntarily stopped, rolled down the window, and engaged in conversation.
Furthermore, the court declared that minor, inadvertent contact with a patient could be viewed as a “use of force” and thus be a violation of the FACE Act.
However, after the Thomas More Society wanted an en banc hearing, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals issued an extraordinary ruling, reversing their March decision, and thus re-instating the original ruling of the district court, which rejected the state-desired sanctions against the pro-lifers.
The ruling read: “The petitions for rehearing are GRANTED. The panel hereby VACATES its previous opinion. Accordingly, the decision of the district court remains in place.”
PETITION UPDATE (5/12/2021) -
It seems that Dr. Anthony Fauci's role in the NIH's funding of so-called "gain-of-function" research may be catching up with him.
In the last couple of days, both U.S. Senator Rand Paul and Fox's Tucker Carlson have laid into Fauci for his alleged promotion of this dangerous research which develops bat-based coronaviruses into more potent variants, capable of infecting humans.
Dr. Fauci denied funding this research.
But, Senator Paul noted that a resident virologist at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, Dr. Shi Zheng-li and Dr. Ralph Baric, an American virologist funded by Fauci's department in the NIH, "collaborated on gain-of-function research where they enhanced the SARS virus to infect human airway cells and they did it by merging a new spy protein on it. That is gain-of-function. That was joint research between the Wuhan Institute and Dr. Baric. You [Dr. Fauci] can’t deny it."
And, later, Fox News host Tucker Carlson picked up on the discrepancy, noting Fauci’s involvement in the creation and promotion of public health directives on account of COVID-19 while also being allegedly tied to the origin of the virus and its spread throughout the world.
So, the evidence - both in testimony and in the court of public opinion - continues to mount.
Could we ask you to consider SIGNING and SHARING this important petition, which calls for Dr. Fauci to be fired and investigated for any role he played in promoting and funding the dangerous research which may have cost the world dearly in lives and jobs lost.
When concerned scientists warned the US government of the great danger of creating superviruses in the lab, one man publicly defended the risky experiments: that man was the influential head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), none other than "Mr. Science" himself: Dr. Anthony Fauci.
In 2014, the same year the US government called for a moratorium on this insanely dangerous research, Dr. Fauci's NIAID began funding a program to study the transmission of bat coronaviruses to humans.
Not only did his funding go to develop the technology for making bat coronaviruses spread more easily to humans, but much of it went to the lab located in the exact location where the Covid pandemic eventually emerged: Wuhan, China.
Like every person, Dr. Fauci deserves to be presumed innocent until proven guilty.
But the evidence is so overwhelming that Fauci gambled with a supervirus and lost (the whole world lost), that, at a minimum, he needs to be fired from his position of public trust and must be investigated for possible violations of US law which mandated a moratorium on this extremely dangerous practice of creating superviruses in the lab.
However Dr. Fauci, far from being held responsible for his dangerous gamble, has been promoted to the point where, currently, he is the highest paid employee in the US Government.
Please SIGN and SHARE this petition if you agree that Dr. Anthony Fauci should instead be immediately fired and investigated for his role in causing the Covid-19 pandemic.
Just like the Wall Street moguls, whose financial negligence precipitated the financial crisis of 2008, received massive bailout bonuses, Dr. Anthony Fauci recklessly pushed for the research that probably caused the deadly pandemic. And now, he, too, has been rewarded with money and power.
As has been carefully and meticulously documented by Steve Hilton of Fox News, the probable origins of the coronavirus point to Dr. Anthony Fauci.
Dr. Fauci was one of the greatest proponents of developing superviruses in labs.
Dr. Fauci was responsible for the funding of much of the research through the NIAID.
And, it appears that Dr. Fauci funneled taxpayer funds through an intermediary to allow the research to continue in the unsafe Wuhan Institute of Virology, even after the US government banned the funding of this dangerous research.
Until a thorough investigation into his role of the origins of the current pandemic has taken place, Dr. Fauci should not be in a position of public trust.
Please SIGN and SHARE this petition to demand that Dr. Fauci be fired immediately and investigated fully for his role in the creation of Covid-19 and the ensuing pandemic.
P.S. It should be noted that Dr. Fauci not only has proven to be catastrophic for public health with his advocacy of dangerous research, but he has also been a disastrous public health advisor, advocating measures that have negatively impacted every aspect of our lives, from the economy to our most fundamental liberties.
P.P.S. Dr. Anthony Fauci, recently stated that he is delighted to be pushing Joe Biden's return to US taxpayer funding of abortions abroad. So, evidently, not only does Dr. Fauci have problems with public health, public safety, and economics, but also with basic human rights and embryology.
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**Photo Credit: Official White House Photo by Tia Dufour
The Thomas More Society noted that the Second Circuit only grants around .03% of petitions seeking a rehearing en banc.
Commenting on the court’s decision, Senior Counsel for the Thomas More Society, Stephen Crampton, welcomed the news. “It appears that even the judges in the majority on the panel found their original opinion indefensible. We are pleased that the fundamental First Amendment rights of our clients have been restored, and look forward to returning to the district court and finishing the case once and for all.”
“FACE was always about hindering pro-life advocates from reaching hurting women with life-saving information,” Crampton added. “But the panel majority all but eliminated First Amendment rights for these gentle and compassionate folks who sacrifice so much in order to speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves.”
The Thomas More Society has won a victory for its clients with the ruling, and dealt a blow to abortion advocates who seek to prosecute pro-lifers and restrict pro-life activities under the terms of FACE. It remains to be seen whether any further action will be taken, or whether the matter will now be considered settled.