Grace Carr, DCNF
A Detroit suburb settled a lawsuit with a pro-lifer who filed a complaint after police insisted he stop sidewalk counseling outside abortion clinics, alleging he was gravely disturbing the peace.
Detroit-township Center Line agreed to pay pro-lifer Michael Mattia a total of $1 dollar after Judge David Lawson ruled in December the suburb’s police forces infringed upon Mattia’s right to free speech, according to the Associated Press as featured in U.S. News. Mattia’s lawyer will receive $50,000. The judge concurred with the agreement on Wednesday.
The police charged that Mattia was disturbing the peace on a “psychological level,” but Judge Lawson ruled law enforcement was unconstitutionally exercising a “heckler’s veto” via trying to censor speech they didn’t agree with.
Conversely, five abortion protesters were sentenced to a year in prison in December after they disrupted a Catholic mass in Spain and were convicted of violating Spain’s religious freedom laws.
A U.S. court also convicted two priests for trespassing at an abortion clinic and blocking its entrance during a pro-life activist operation in November, according to Aleteia. A pro-life woman was also arrested and jailed in December for setting foot an Ontario abortion clinic.
The Detroit settlement comes after New York’s attorney general oversaw and facilitated secret surveillance on pro-life counselors outside an abortion clinic as well as the creation of a fake identity in an attempt to win an ongoing case, according to a witness’s testimony. Schneiderman came down hard on fake identities and fraudulent activity on the Internet in an NPR interview late January but failed to act on his own advice.
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