ABORTION INDUSTRY IN MELBOURNE, FLORIDA
RANEY V AWARE WOMAN
DOCKET / CHRONOLOGICAL FILE
FLORIDA TODAY, 10/7/97, Pro-life activist sues clinic
FLORIDA TODAY, TUESDAY October 7, 1997
Pro-life activist sues clinic
Meredith Raney says Aware Woman violated civil rights
By Frank Oliveri
MELBOURNE - Pro-life activist Meredith Raney is suing Aware Woman Center for Choice for having him forcefully removed from clinic property three times by Melbourne police.
In each case, his civil rights were violated, he said.
Raney was arrested Jan. 28, 1995; April 26, 1995; and Jan. 24, 1996, by Melbourne police while he was attempting to give women entering the clinic reproductive counseling, he said. He and his attorney, Christopher Sapp of Lehigh Acres, are seeking damages, interest and attorney's fees, according to the federal lawsuit.
Patricia Baird-Windle, co-owner and chief executive officer of the clinic, is outraged by the lawsuit.
"The lawsuit doesn't make any sense except in the ludicrous context of their nuttiness," Baird-Windle said.
"However, when you remember that underlying their entire strategy is the desire to keep providers money broke, energy challenged or energy broke, and concentration distracted so that we cannot make good decisions about pursuing them, then you can see the true demonical point of this ludicrous thing."
Raney is using the federal Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act as the basis for his case. The law originally was designed to protect women seeking abortions and clinic employees.
Raney refused to comment on the lawsuit, which was filed Oct. 1 in U.S. District Court, Middle District of Florida.
When asked why he was suing the clinic and not Melbourne, Raney said he targeted Aware Woman Center because "the police were acting as agents of the clinic."
Sapp said Raney stands a good chance of winning.
I wouldn't have bothered if I didn't think it was totally appropriate," Sapp said, refusing to comment further.
Baird-Windle's attorney, Vincent Torpy of Frese, Nash and Torpy of Melbourne, said it was too early for him to comment.
Even if everything they state is true, they are still not entitled to any relief under the law," Torpy said. "The allegations of the complaint seem to suggest that this federal statute entitles him to some relief. It does not."
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