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Clinic owner sues abortion protesters

By Editorial Staff
Published June 10, 1999

By Lynne Bumpus-Hooper, The Orlando Sentinel

MELBOURNE — The owner of a women’s clinic is suing abortion protesters and two online services she accuses of providing information on clinic staff, doctors and patients.

Patricia Windle, owner of the Aware Woman Clinic for Choice, filed suit Monday in federal court against Meredith Raney, spokesman for Christians for Life, and 16 other protesters. Also named are CompuServe and America Online, which Raney used to obtain names and addresses of people who parked at the clinic.

The suit alleges that the clinic, its staff, doctors and patients have been targeted for years by anti-abortion activists who have used harassing and intimidating tactics.

The main tactic criticized in the suit is the copying of license tag numbers. The numbers are traced through the computer services so letters can be sent to car owners.

Such a practice violates privacy laws, said Roy Lucas, the attorney who filed the suit. Lucas filed a similar suit against abortion protesters outside Orlando and Ocala clinics in December and plans an additional suit for a clinic owned by Windle in West Palm Beach.

CompuServe spokeswoman Daphne Kent said she wasn’t aware of the latest lawsuit and couldn’t comment on it. The Columbus, Ohio-based company, recently purchased by America Online, has since stopped providing the information, Lucas said.

Raney would not comment on the suit specifically, but he said neither he nor any other anti-abortion activists had ever done anything but try to protect women and children.

“It’s been my intention and the intention of Christians for Life to present truthful information to patients. We have used inventive ways to do that,” he said Tuesday.

Windle says in the suit that Raney began videotaping the comings and goings outside the clinic at Dixie Way in north Melbourne in 1989.

She accuses him in the suit of going so far as to follow into a hospital with a video camera a patient sent to an emergency room for observation.

The other defendants are accused of stalking patients and doctors, creating posters and shouting epithets at staff.

Lucas said some of the phrases, such as “butcher,” “murderer” and “baby killer,” are “fighting words” not protected as free speech.

“These are words that are not protected by the First Amendment, just like hard-core pornography is not protected,” Lucas said.

Windle described the suit as the most aggressive in the country against abortion foes. Lucas said pulling all the facts together had been a formidable task.

“There may be as many as 1,000 or more separate acts of invasion of privacy. The activities of Meredith Raney in building a blackmail database have been outrageous,” he said.

The additional defendants were also criticized for their sidewalk counseling, a form of picketing in which counselors approach cars pulling into the parking lot.

Anti-abortion forces have maintained a house across the street from the clinic for years.

The U.S. Supreme Court upheld a 36-foot buffer zone between the two properties in 1994. But the buffer zone is rarely enforced, Lucas said, forcing the civil action.

Mark Hall, one of the abortion foes named in the lawsuit, said the counselors have moved out. The building is now the home of Pregnancy Outreach Inc.

“They’ve removed all their equipment, and sidewalk consulting is shut down as of Dec. 1. We asked all of the protesting picketers to move out,” said Hall, who has picketed and counseled outside the clinic for years.

Pregnancy Outreach provides free pregnancy tests, sonograms, prayer and a professional medical program, Hall said.

“We are educating moms about the development of their babies,” Hall said.

Wire services were used in compiling this report.


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

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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.

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Massacre of Innocence (DVD)

Exposing The Occult Roots of Abortion

This presentation looks at the spiritual roots of abortion and exposes the myths surrounding child killing. Little known historical facts about abortion and how they relate to modern feminism are presented logically and accurately. Has been effective in converting many to a pro-life position.

Massacre of Innocence goes where no pro-life presentation has gone before in “tearing the lid off abortion” to reveal the spiritual realities we must battle if we will bring an end to this crime. The presentation is absorbing, fast-paced, informative and incredibly devastating to any attempt to justify abortion.

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The Real Jesus: A Defense of the Historicity and Divinity of ChristThe Real Jesus: A Defense of the Historicity and Divinity of Christ (DVD)

Who is the Real Jesus?

Ever since the dawn of modern rationalism, skeptics have sought to use textual criticism, archeology and historical reconstructions to uncover the “historical Jesus” — a wise teacher who said many wonderful things, but fulfilled no prophecies, performed no miracles and certainly did not rise from the dead in triumph over sin.

Over the past 100 years, however, startling discoveries in biblical archeology and scholarship have all but vanquished the faulty assumptions of these doubting modernists. Regrettably, these discoveries have often been ignored by the skeptics as well as by the popular media. As a result, the liberal view still holds sway in universities and impacts the culture and even much of the church.

The Real Jesus explodes the myths of these critics and the movies, books and television programs that have popularized their views. Presented in ten parts — perfect for individual, family and classroom study — viewers will be challenged to go deeper in their knowledge of Christ in order to be able to defend their faith and present the truth to a skeptical modern world – that the Jesus of the Gospels is the Jesus of history — “the same yesterday, today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). He is the real Jesus.

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The Four Keys to the Millennium (Book)

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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Go Stand Speak (DVD)

With “preaching to the lost” being such a basic foundation of Christianity, why do many in the church seem to be apathetic on this issue of preaching in highways and byways of towns and cities?

Is it biblical to stand in the public places of the world and proclaim the gospel, regardless if people want to hear it or not?

Does the Bible really call church pastors, leaders and evangelists to proclaim the gospel in the public square as part of obedience to the Great Commission, or is public preaching something that is outdated and not applicable for our day and age?

These any many other questions are answered in this documentary.

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