HUNTSVILLE, Alabama, April 26, 2013 ( – Joyce Fecteau, the 71-year-old pro-life sidewalk counselor who was arrested after spraying holy water outside an abortion clinic in Huntsville, Alabama, has been found not guilty of harassment.

The judge in the case agreed with Fecteau’s defense counsel that the pro-life activist did not intend to alarm or annoy when she sprayed the holy water near two pro-abortion demonstrators, reports

Fecteau was arrested outside the facility in January after pro-abortion demonstrators Lisa Cox and Katherine Norlin accused her of spraying them with an “unknown substance.”


The pair said the incident occurred December 22 on the sidewalk outside the “Alabama Women's Center for Reproductive Alternatives” abortion business in Huntsville, while they were escorting a woman inside.

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Fecteau said that she sprayed the holy water because another one of the pro-abortion demonstrators was burning a “smudge stick” – a bundle of sage and other dried herbs frequently used in New Age, pagan, and Shamanist rituals.   

Fecteau said the smoke was billowing into her face. 

“I had been told repeatedly by my health care provider not to breathe in that smoke because it’s making me sick,” she said after her arrest. “I can't tell if [the holy water] drifted on this lady's face.” 

Video footage of the incident appears to show the pro-abortion protester standing near Fecteau holding the smudge stick. Fecteau is seen pointing her spray bottle at the stick and spraying the water.

Cox and Norlin both expressed concerns that they did not know what was in the bottle.

Pro-abortion activist Pamela Watters, who organizes the pro-abortion demonstrations outside the clinic, expressed disappointment with the ruling.

“The outcome is unfortunate and disappointing given the significant evidence presented in favor of conviction,” she said. “But what we have demonstrated is that we will not tolerate harassment and assault against our volunteers.” 

She vowed to “continue to document the rude and disruptive behavior of the anti-choice protestors at the women's clinic.”