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Pro-life victory: judge dismisses federal prosecution of sidewalk counselor

Catholic World News - January 17, 2012

Suspecting collusion between the federal government and an abortion clinic, a federal judge has dismissed Attorney General Eric Holder’s prosecution of Mary Susan Pine, a Florida sidewalk counselor, on charges of violating the FACE (Freedom of Access to Clinics) Act. Pine, who once had an abortion, had been charged with preventing access to an abortion clinic.

“Stretching the terms of FACE to apply to this case … so that a desire to provide people with information about alternatives to abortion constitutes an unlawful motive, would unjustifiably impinge on Ms. Pine’s First Amendment rights,” Judge Kenneth L. Ryskamp ruled.

“It is rather curious that the Department of Justice was able to meet with the PWC [abortion clinic] staff and police officers the very next day after the alleged violation occurred,” the judge added. “It is also curious that the Government failed to make any efforts to obtain the identities of the [car] passengers who are the alleged victims in this case.”

“The Court can only wonder whether this action was the product of a concerted effort between the Government and the PWC, which began well before the date of the incident at issue, to quell Ms. Pine’s activities rather than to vindicate the rights of those allegedly aggrieved by Ms. Pine’s conduct.”

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