A Planned Parenthood facility in Spokane Washington, represented by Legal Voice, brought their grievances with anti-abortion protestors to the State this past June, claiming these actions are not protected by the First Amendment. The State Superior Court judge ruled on the side of Planned Parenthood and granted a preliminary injunction against the anti-abortion group.
The anti-abortion group, "The Church of Planned Parenthood," had been participating in loud demonstrations outside the Planned Parenthood facility. As the Church of Planned Parenthood states on their website, they are "gathering of Christians for the worship of God and corporate prayer for repentance for this nation, repentance for the apathetic church, and repentance for our blood guiltiness in this abortion holocaust."
Legal Voices made the claim these protests interfere with patient care, and thus violate Washington State Law RCW 9A.50.020 which states, "It is unlawful for a person except as otherwise protected by state or federal law, alone or in concert with others, to willfully or recklessly interfere with access to or from a health care facility or willfully or recklessly disrupt the normal functioning of such facility." Additionally, Planned Parenthood stated how these demonstrations and distractions can leave a negative impact on patients as they can cause increased risk of hypertension, increased pain, and a variety of psychiatric symptoms.
Legal Voices Attorney Kim Clark further addressed the situation stating, "There is a reason that healthcare providers try to create an environment that is quiet and calm. Patients cannot focus on their health if they are distracted, or anxious, or afraid. This is especially important at a reproductive healthcare center that serves a community that already faces systemic inequities in access to healthcare and health outcomes, and where the care being provided is highly stigmatized."
Spokane City Council had passed an ordinance in March to limit noise disturbances as well as enable healthcare workers to seek remedies for violations of the law. However, local authorities have not been enforcing the order.