Jay Rogers
Director:
Jay Rogers

Recent Posts

The Forerunner

Anti-abortion activists sue Sheriff McDougall over clinic protests

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.


Forerunner - Home » Florida's Murder Industry »

Your comments are welcome!

Textile Help

Amazing GraceAmazing Grace: The History and Theology of Calvinism (DVD)

Download the Free Study Guide!

Just what is Calvinism?

Does this teaching make man a deterministic robot and God the author of sin? What about free will? If the church accepts Calvinism, won’t evangelism be stifled, perhaps even extinguished? How can we balance God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility? What are the differences between historic Calvinism and hyper-Calvinism? Why did men like Augustine, Luther, Calvin, Spurgeon, Whitefield, Edwards and a host of renowned Protestant evangelists embrace the teaching of predestination and election and deny free will theology?

This is the first video documentary that answers these and other related questions. Hosted by Eric Holmberg, this fascinating three-part, four-hour presentation is detailed enough so as to not gloss over the controversy. At the same time, it is broken up into ten “Sunday-school-sized” sections to make the rich content manageable and accessible for the average viewer.

Running Time: 257 minutes

$19.95 — ORDER NOW!

(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)

Click here for more information


Freedom: The Model of Christian Liberty (DVD)

“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.

$14.95 — ORDER NOW!

(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)

Click here for more information


The Abortion Matrix: Defeating Child Sacrifice and the Culture of Death (DVD)

Download the free Study Guide!

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

$19.95 — ORDER NOW!

(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)

Click here for more information


Dr. Francis Schaeffer - How Should We Then Live? (DVD)

Special Two-Disc Set!

After 40 years of intense study and world-wide ministry, Dr. Francis Schaeffer completed his crowning work of scholarship – to present profound truths in simple film language. Dr. Schaeffer’s brilliant analysis of the past and predictions for current trends have proven so uncannily accurate that this amazing series still feels contemporary almost three decades after its initial release. Ultimately, Schaeffer concludes that man’s only hope is a return to God’s Biblical absolute, the truth revealed in Christ through the Scriptures.

Available for the first time on DVD, this documentary spectacular also includes intimate in-depth conversations with Francis and Edith Schaeffer. With the on-disc study guide, this presentation forms a unique course of comprehensive study. While this series forms an innovative analysis of the past, this outstanding work is more than history. Each episode focuses on a significant era, yet speaks clearly to 21st-century man with answers for modern problems.

$49.95 — ORDER NOW!

(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)

Click here for more information


The Beast of Revelation IdentifiedThe Beast of Revelation: Identified (DVD)

Who is the dreaded beast of Revelation?

Now at last, a plausible candidate for this personification of evil incarnate has been identified (or re-identified). Ken Gentry’s insightful analysis of scripture and history is likely to revolutionize your understanding of the book of Revelation — and even more importantly — amplify and energize your entire Christian worldview!

Historical footage and other graphics are used to illustrate the lecture Dr. Gentry presented at the 1999 Ligonier Conference in Orlando, Florida. It is followed by a one-hour question and answer session addressing the key concerns and objections typically raised in response to his position. This presentation also features an introduction that touches on not only the confusion and controversy surrounding this issue — but just why it may well be one of the most significant issues facing the Church today.

Ideal for group meetings, personal Bible study — for anyone who wants to understand the historical context of John’s famous letter “… to the seven churches which are in Asia.” (Revelation 1:4)

Running Time: 145 minutes

$17.95 — ORDER NOW!

(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)

Click here for more information

Share |

Search this site:
View CCNow Cart/Checkout
View CCNow Cart/Checkout

RSS
Subscribe to
The Forerunner

Have The Forerunner Weblog sent straight to your inbox!

Enter your email address:

YouTube
The Forerunner Channel on YouTube


Promote Your Page Too

Featured Product
If you like the articles on this website, you may also be interested in:

Featured Articles

Live Seminar!

Real Jesus
The Abortion Matrix DVD: Update

The Abortion Matrix:
Defeating Child Sacrifice and the Culture of Death

is a 195-minute presentation that traces the biblical roots of child sacrifice and then delves into the social, political and cultural fall-out that this sin against God has produced. You can order this series on DVD, read the complete script and view clips on-line...
continued ...


View My Stats