If you’ve been following the saga in the city of Spokane, Washington where a local church in the community started an organization outside of the Planned Parenthood abortion mill — dubbing it the Church at Planned Parenthood — you may be aware of the war being waged against free speech and the right to assembly in this town.
Members of Covenant Church have been battling against the city council who claim that the protests — which have already been ruled constitutional by the Supreme Court — are “interfering” with “healthcare” access for their constitutional right to freedom of religious expression, assembly, and speech.
Councilwoman Lori Kinnear introduced a bill last week that would limit the amount of noise to a subjective level which is undefined and further allow individuals and organizations to sue protesters for “interfering” with their business. According to the report, Kinnear said the bill “aims to respect free speech and the protesters’ right to their opinion, while ensuring their chorus of objection does not intrude on the services inside the health care facility’s walls.”
In other words, you’re allowed to freely express your opinion so long as it isn’t loud enough for anyone to hear it.
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The law was passed yesterday with a 6 to 1 vote with Councilman Michael Cathcart casting the only no vote. It is still unclear exactly what constitutes “interference” as some “patients” have complained that they could hear the protest inside the building and it played on their conscience.
“It has a negative impact on staff and patients,” Paul Dillon, a spokesman for Planned Parenthood said, “We’ve had to move patients to other exam rooms. Patients are already experiencing a variety of stressors sometimes, and so the noise levels are just piling on.”
Of course, that is the whole purpose of the protest — to subject the sinful actions to the light of God’s revealed truth and to burden the conscience with the decision to either repent or perish.
According to the report, “the first violation is punishable with a fine of at least $500 and a jail term of at least 24 hours. A second offense would be punished by a $700 fine or more and a jail term of seven days, and a third offense would bring a fine of at least $1,000 and a 30-day jail sentence.” Mayor Nadine Woodward — a self-described non-partisan with Republican support — did not comment on whether or not she would veto the bill.