Monday August 23, 2010

Obama Administration Sues West Palm Beach Pro-Life Leader

By Kathleen Gilbert


WEST PALM BEACH, Florida, August 23, 2010 ( – A local pro-life leader has claimed innocence after U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder filed a lawsuit claiming that she violated federal law prohibiting individuals from blocking customers from entering abortion centers.

Filed in U.S. District Court on Wednesday, the lawsuit claims that Mary Susan Pine, 58, and another protester violated the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act. The administration is seeking an injunction that would prevent Pine from entering any clinic driveway, and prevent any members of her pro-life group from blocking women from entering the abortion facility.

Holder alleges that, in one incident on November 19, 2009, Pine obstructed a car entering the abortion mill parking lot by stepping in front of it. The pro-lifer could face up to a $10,000 fine.

Pine, who says she has been witnessing outside the clinic for 20 years, told that she and her group F.A.C.E. Life are innocent of the charge. It marks the first time anyone in Florida has been sued under the FACE Act.

“It was something to believe, because there’s no basis for it, so it was quite a surprise to say the least,” she said. “We don’t violate the FACE act.”

Pine said she is unaware who brought the claim to the government’s attention, but suspects it was an abortion clinic worker. The pro-life leader said she is unable to comment on the details of the case, and that she has not yet been served with a warrant.

Pine also leads the local 40 Days for Life campaign, which she said drew 500 participants last spring. Since news broke of the lawsuit last week, Pine says pro-lifers have been supporting her from all over the country. “It makes me feel really good to hear that there’s so much support,” she said, and asked for continued prayers.

“This is obviously a political move to discourage the pro-lifers across this country from standing outside an abortion facility, trying to intimidate the movement, and I don’t think we’re going to be intimidated,” she added.

Sharon Levin, vice president and general counsel of the National Abortion Federation, told the Palm Beach Post that the move was part of a promised crackdown against pro-lifers following the shooting death of late-term abortionist George Tiller of Kansas last year.

The Liberty Counsel, which has agreed to represent Pine, in a press release Tuesday morning pointed to an Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals decision in the 1995 case Cheffer v. Reno, where it was ruled that FACE can only be applied to actual physical force or threat of force.

Mathew Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel and Dean of Liberty University School of Law, said Holder’s allegations were erroneous and called the case “an abuse of power.”

“This lawsuit by Attorney General Eric Holder is politically motivated and patently frivolous. It is designed to intimidate pro-lifers,” said Staver. “We will not allow the Attorney General to push around little people and intimidate them for their pro-life beliefs.”

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