A federal appeals court has overturned a lower court ruling that granted a preliminary injunction to a Portland pastor who asserted that he was being unlawfully targeted by police outside of a Planned Parenthood facility for his pro-life preaching.
The Maine Civil Rights Act “is a facially content-neutral measure that targets noise for reasons that have nothing to do with any topic discussed, idea propounded or message conveyed,” Judge David Barron, appointed to the bench by then-President Barack Obama, wrote on behalf of the three-judge panel of the First Circuit Court of Appeals.
“Moreover, by its terms, the measure serves that significant state interest without burdening substantially more speech than necessary and while leaving open ample alternative channels of communication,” he opined.
As previously reported, Andrew March of Cell 53 Church had filed suit in November 2015 after Maine Attorney General Janet Mills, a pro-abortion Democrat, filed a civil rights lawsuit to keep Brian Ingalls from standing within 50 feet of the Monument Square Planned Parenthood facility—or any Planned Parenthood location in Maine. Ingalls is an elder at March’s church.
Mills alleged in her lawsuit that Ingalls spoke too loudly on Oct. 23, 2015 about “murdering babies, aborted babies’ blood and Jesus” while preaching outside of Planned Parenthood to the point that his pro-life pleas could be heard in the room where examinations take place.
Police had confronted March and others last year to advise that their voices could be heard by staff and clients inside of the Planned Parenthood facility, and told them to keep it down. But officers reportedly did nothing when those in favor of Planned Parenthood could likewise be heard inside of the building.