By Editorial Staff
Published July 29, 1999
By Mary Kelli Bridges, Staff Writer, Naples Daily News
In an ironic move Wednesday, anti-abortionists sued Lee County Sheriff John McDougall – an outspoken opponent of abortion – for not allowing them to approach clients in front of an abortion clinic in North Fort Myers.
It’s an issue that has pulled McDougall, who has come under fire countless times in the past for voicing his opinion that doctors who perform abortions are “baby-killers,” in two directions.
Though he says the anti-abortionists have no legal standing for the federal lawsuit – which he believes will be thrown out of court quickly – he also said he understands why they’re forcing the issue.
Lee County Sheriff John McDougall
“In an odd way, I really do wish they could prevail,” McDougall said.
But earlier this month McDougall proved that he wasn’t willing to allow anyone, including those with his similar beliefs, to break laws.
On July 13, Lee County sheriff’s deputies issued trespassing warnings to anti-abortionists who up until then had visited the Southwest Florida Women’s Clinic in North Fort Myers on a regular basis to distribute anti-abortion information to clients. The warnings came after Dr. Ali Azima, who runs the clinic, told deputies he didn’t want the protesters on the clinic’s private property.
The sheriff agreed to respect Azima’s request and decided to follow clinic-violence guidelines approved this year by a law enforcement think tank.
The guidelines are based on the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act of 1994. The law requires that clinic entrances not be blocked, so that doctors and patients are protected from intimidation or harassment.
However, that same act allows health-care counselors to approach patients, attorney Christopher F. Sapp said.
Two of those served with trespassing warnings, Robert Smith and Ray Sienkiewicz, call themselves “sidewalk counselors.” They are suing McDougall, as an individual and in his role as Lee County’s sheriff, in the U.S. District Court’s Middle District of Florida for allegedly violating the federal act.
In a written statement faxed from Sapp’s office, the men allege McDougall has said he is under pressure from people in Washington, D.C., to put a stop to their “counseling and referral program.”
“According to McDougall, powerful people in Washington want us stopped,” the statement says. “Apparently, he has agreed to help them.”
In the complaint, the men are suing John and Jane Doe, in addition to the sheriff, Sapp said. He said John and Jane Doe represent anyone who is pressuring the sheriff and could be included by name in the suit in the future.
McDougall denies receiving any pressure.
The abortion protesters are described in the civil complaint as “brave people who reach out to the mothers and fathers of unborn children at abortion clinics, offering love and help, rather than debate or condemnation.”
The sheriff has said that the clinic is on private property and if protesters want to distribute information, they must do so on public property, which is a block away. If they continue to trespass, the sheriff has said, they could be arrested.
Smith and Sienkiewicz see that as a threat and violation of the act.
“Defendant, John McDougall, intentionally and unlawfully caused these threats and intimidation by ordering his deputies to threaten plaintiffs with physical removal from the facility,” according to the complaint.
They are asking for an injunction allowing them to protest in front of the clinic, want $5,000 for each alleged violation of the act and between $15,000 and $25,000 in punitive damages.
“We believe that Sheriff McDougall has unlawfully prevented us from offering love and help to the girls being brought to Ali Azima’s abortuary,” according to the statement.
Sienkiewicz, who said he is a member of Referral Educational and Counseling Help, an outreach program that tries to provide pregnant women with information offering alternatives to abortion, said it’s impossible to counsel women from the area McDougall has specified.
Still, the men haven’t returned since July 13.
“That would probably force an arrest, which we don’t want to happen,” Sienkiewicz said.
Azima said it’s been calmer in the past couple of weeks, because the protesters haven’t been in front of the clinic. He adamantly denies that Smith and Sienkiewicz or their friends are counselors.
“They are approaching patients and they are intimidating them and frightening them,” Azima said.
He said he’s received complaints from many patients, including women who come to the clinic for routine checkups.
“There hasn’t been even one person who comes inside the clinic and said they have counseled them,” Azima said.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Douglas Molloy said he can’t comment about the merits of the civil suit, but said McDougall has gone out of his way to make sure he’s protecting the rights of the abortion protesters, the health-care providers and potential clients.
“I would say that Sheriff McDougall at all times has acted professionally and within the definitions of the FACE Act,” Molloy said.
Last week, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and McDougall agreed to host a meeting with Azima and abortion protesters to help solve the disagreement. But neither Azima nor anti-abortionists showed up.
That was the second time law enforcement officials met to discuss the act and how to deal with possible violations, Molloy said.
The first time was in June and included officials from McDougall’s office, the FBI and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. The meeting was at McDougall’s request, Molloy said.
“What the sheriff wanted to do was give full protection of the law to all the sides the FACE Act protects,” Molloy said.
A hearing on the legal challenge hasn’t been scheduled.
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“Give me liberty or give me death!”
Patrick Henry’s famous declaration not only helped launch the War for Independence, it also perfectly summarized the mindset that gave birth to, and sustained, the unprecedented experiment in Christian liberty that was America.
The freedom our Founders envisioned was not freedom from suffering, want, or hard work. Nor was it freedom to indulge every appetite or whim without restraint—that would merely be servitude to a different master. No, the Founders’ passion was to live free before God, unfettered by the chains of autocracy, shackles that slowly but inexorably bind men when the governments they fashion fail to recognize and uphold freedom’s singular, foundational truth: that all men are created in the image of God, and are thereby co-equally endowed with the right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
This presentation is a similar call, not to one but many. By reintroducing the principles of freedom that gave birth to America, it is our prayer that Jesus, the true and only ruler over the nations, will once again be our acknowledged Sovereign, that we may again know and exult in the great truth that “where the Spirit of the LORD is, there is liberty” (2 Cor. 3:17).
Welcome to the Second American Revolution!
This DVD features “Liberty: The Model of Christian Liberty” along with “Dawn’s Early Light: A Brief History of America’s Christian Foundations.” Bonus features include a humorous but instructive collection of campaign ads and Eric Holmberg’s controversial YouTube challenge concerning Mitt Romney’s campaign for president.
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Foundations in Biblical Eschatology
By Jay Rogers, Larry Waugh, Rodney Stortz, Joseph Meiring. High quality paperback, 167 pages.
All Christians believe that their great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will one day return. Although we cannot know the exact time of His return, what exactly did Jesus mean when he spoke of the signs of His coming (Mat. 24)? How are we to interpret the prophecies in Isaiah regarding the time when “the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea” (Isa. 11:19)? Should we expect a time of great tribulation and apostasy or revival and reformation before the Lord returns? Is the devil bound now, and are the saints reigning with Christ? Did you know that there are four hermeneutical approaches to the book of Daniel and Revelation?
These and many more questions are dealt with by four authors as they present the four views on the millennium. Each view is then critiqued by the other three authors.
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That Swiss Hermit Strikes Again!
Dr. Schaeffer, who was one of the most influential Christian thinkers in the twentieth century, shows that secular humanism has displaced the Judeo-Christian consensus that once defined our nation’s moral boundaries. Law, education, and medicine have all been reshaped for the worse as a consequence. America’s dominant worldview changed, Schaeffer charges, when Christians weren’t looking.
Schaeffer lists two reasons for evangelical indifference: a false concept of spirituality and fear. He calls on believers to stand against the tyranny and moral chaos that come when humanism reigns-and warns that believers may, at some point, be forced to make the hard choice between obeying God or Caesar. A Christian Manifesto is a thought-provoking and bracing Christian analysis of American culture and the obligation Christians have to engage the culture with the claims of Christ.
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“When the lives of the unborn are snuffed out, they often feel pain, pain that is long and agonizing.” – President Ronald Reagan to National Religious Broadcasters Convention, January 1981
Ronald Reagan became convinced of this as a result of watching The Silent Scream – a movie he considered so powerful and convicting that he screened it at the White House. More recently, it was by catching just a glimpse of what this film reveals that Planned Parenthood director and abortion advocate Abby Johnson turned and became a strong advocate for the pre-born.
The modern technology of real-time ultrasound now reveals the actual responses of a 12-week old fetus to being aborted. As the unborn child attempts to escape the abortionist’s suction curette, her motions can be seen to become desperately agitated and her heart rate doubles. Her mouth opens – as if to scream – but no sound can come out. Her scream doesn’t have to remain silent, however … not if you will become her voice. This newly re-mastered version features eight language tracks and two bonus videos.
“…a high technology “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” arousing public opinion just as Harriet Beecher Stowe’s 1852 antislavery novel ignited the abolitionist movement.” – Sen. Gordon Humphrey, Time Magazine
Languages: English, Spanish, French, South Korean, Chinese, Russian, Portuguese, Japanese
Running Time: 28 minutes
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Is there a connection between pagan religion and the abortion industry?
This powerful presentation traces the biblical roots of child sacrifice and then delves into the social, political and cultural fall-out that this sin against God and crime against humanity has produced in our beleaguered society.
Conceived as a sequel and update to the 1988 classic, The Massacre of Innocence, the new title, The Abortion Matrix, is entirely fitting. It not only references abortion’s specific target – the sacred matrix where human beings are formed in the womb in the very image of God, but it also implies the existence of a conspiracy, a matrix of seemingly disparate forces that are driving this holocaust.
The occult activity surrounding the abortion industry is exposed with numerous examples. But are these just aberrations, bizarre yet anomalous examples of abortionists who just happen to have ties to modern day witchcraft? Or is this representative of something deeper, more sinister and even endemic to the entire abortion movement?
As the allusion to the film of over a decade ago suggests, the viewer may learn that things are not always as they appear to be. The Abortion Matrix reveals the reality of child-killing and strikes the proper moral chord to move hearts to fulfill the biblical responsibility to rescue those unjustly sentenced to death and to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves (Proverbs 24:11,12; 31:8,9).
Speakers include: George Grant, Peter Hammond, RC Sproul Jr., Paul Jehle, Lou Engle, Rusty Thomas, Flip Benham, Janet Porter and many more.
Ten parts, over three hours of instruction!
Running Time: 195 minutes
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