Ben Johnson


Charges dropped after Planned Parenthood cannot prove pro-lifer was ‘trespassing’

Ben Johnson

PORT ORCHARD, WA, August 24, 2012, ( – Prosecutors dropped charges against a pro-life activist in Washington state who allegedly trespassed on Planned Parenthood property after the clinic’s employees could not prove the man had set foot on the premises.

Last June 3, Nils Ferman stood outside the Bremerton Health Center, a Planned Parenthood abortion facility located on NE Riddell Road in Bremerton, Washington.

The clinic called the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office to report “trespassing,” but police noted the 34-year-old Ferman was 10 feet away from the “No Trespassing” sign. Nonetheless, prosecutors pressed charges this March. 

Ferman refused to pay a $200 fine and contested the charges in court this week.

After Kitsap County District Court Judge Marilyn Paja decided a Planned Parenthood security guard could not establish that Ferman had actually strayed onto the facility’s property, the prosecutor agreed to drop the charges.

Ferman told the Kitsap Sun his decision to fight the charge, while not “easy,” had been “morally correct.” 

Pro-life advocates have faced an increasing number of dubious trespassing cases, often involving federal authorities.

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The Justice Department accused Mary Susan Pine of violating the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrance (FACE) Act on November 19, 2009 – the anniversary of her own abortion – after a vehicle chose to stop and receive a pro-life pamphlet from her in front of the Presidential Women’s Center (PWC) in West Palm Beach, Florida. U.S. District Judge Kenneth Ryskamp raised the possibility of “a concerted effort between the Government and” abortion providers to prosecute outspoken protesters. In April, the administration dropped the charges and agreed to pay Pine $120,000 in attorney’s fees. 

In July, FBI agents questioned Andy Moore, the director of and the son-in-law of Jill Stanek, for allegedly violating a noise ordinance and stepping onto the property of the Southwest Women’s Surgery Center, a Dallas abortion clinic. Moore said the agents, while personally friendly, hinted that he might be deported if he did not inform on members of the pro-life movement, including telling federal authorities which churches are active in it.

That interrogation has convinced some pro-life leaders the Obama administration is gathering intelligence on the pro-life movement and using the law to stifle free speech. 

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