A court in Washington state recently ordered a pro-life organization to pay $960,000 in damages and legal fees to Planned Parenthood for holding a worship service outside the abortion clinic.
According to the Christian Post, Planned Parenthood sued The Church at Planned Parenthood (TCAPP), founded by Covenant Church, in June 2020, claiming the church was violating local noise ordinances and state law regarding disruptions at healthcare facilities when it held worship services on public land adjacent to Planned Parenthood.
A local judge ordered a temporary injunction to stop the church from demonstrating in September 2020.
In September 2021, a county judge issued a permanent injunction noting, “reasonable minds can only reach one conclusion, that Covenant Church intends to interfere with access to or safe and effective delivery of health care services….”
In December 2022, the same judge, Spokane County Superior Court Judge Timothy Fennessy, awarded damages to Planned Parenthood in the amount of $110,000 for violating state law, according to The Spokeman-Review.
As reported by KXLY, “the judge said TCAPP’s actions created an increased risk of hypertension, increased pain, and a variety of psychiatric symptoms for Planned Parenthood patients.”
According to KXLY, the judge’s December order said that the church “willfully or recklessly disrupted the normal functioning of a health care facility” by “making noise that unreasonably disturbs the peace within the facility.”
Planned Parenthood and the church’s insurance company negotiated legal fees following the court’s order in December. The church’s insurance agreed to pay Planned Parenthood $850,000 in legal fees.
According to court orders, moving forward, if the church wants to hold an outdoor worship service, it must do so at least 35 feet away from the abortion clinic, and it can only be done after Planned Parenthood’s business hours.
The Church at Planned Parenthood says on its website that it is not a protest. According to the church, they gather to worship God and pray for repentance.
The pastor at TCAPP issued a response on Facebook. He called their worship service a peaceful gathering and said the church will restart its monthly outdoors service on March 14, 2023, at the requisite 35-foot distance and at 7 pm —after Planned Parenthood closes.
Photo from The Church at Planned Parenthood Facebook.
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