UPDATED: Obama admin takes elderly pro-life sidewalk counselor to court
WASHINGTON, DC, July 19, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A pro-life activist who has engaged in sidewalk counseling for 14 years has been taken to court by the federal Department of Justice. The complaint to the court submitted by the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice alleges that Richard Retta non-violently obstructed a woman and her ‘clinic escorts’ from entering Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington, an abortion facility.
When LifeSiteNews.com contacted Retta for comment today, the shocked veteran pro-life activist said that he was unaware that the lawsuit had been filed against him, and that he had not been informed by the Department of Justice. He is seeking legal counsel before making a public statement.
The Department of Justice is demanding that Retta be fined $10,000, that a permanent 20 foot bubble zone be placed around the clinic barring pro-lifers, and that Retta pay an additional fine of $15,000 in equal parts to the three ‘victims’ of his actions, which the DoJ argues were contrary to the Freedom of Access to Clinic Act (FACE).
Richard, better known as Dick Retta, is an older gentleman who is well known to the pro-life movement for having saved hundreds of lives by offering women assistance and factual information. A video of his activities was made by Peter Shinn’s Pro-Life Unity, in which Retta can be seen in action on a day where the lives of six unborn children were saved. In the video Retta can be seen walking with a woman leaving the clinic, offering what is described as post-abortion help.
Shinn, the President of Pro-Life Unity and Cherish Life Ministries, told LifeSiteNews, “I’ve been out to the Planned Parenthood with Dick a number of times and Dick has always exhibited compassion for the women going in to have abortions and asking them to turn away from what he knows will kill their child and cause emotional harm to them afterwards. He is in no way aggressive nor does he block women from entering.”
The DoJ complaint, however, describes Retta as “among the most vocal and aggressive anti-abortion protestors outside the Clinic.” The complaint takes issue with Retta walking “very closely beside patients as they walk to the clinic” and claims that he yells at them.
The complaint claims that Retta yelled, “Don’t go in there. Don’t let them kill your baby.”