Newman Files Petition with Supreme Court Challenging Gag Order that Bans Sharing Evidence with Law Enforcement

PRESS RELEASE

Washington, DC – Troy Newman, president of Operation Rescue and a founding member of the Center for Medical Progress, filed a petition yesterday to the U.S. Supreme Court, challenging the Constitutionality of a preliminary injunction that prohibits the release of undercover videos recorded at National Abortion Federation (NAF) meetings — even to law enforcement when they contain evidence of crimes.

The petition, captioned Newman v. National Abortion Federation, states:

This Petition stems from an injunction forbidding the voluntary disclosure to law enforcement agencies, other governmental bodies, and the general public of recordings and other information that the enjoined individuals and entities—as well as Congressional investigators—believe are evidence of widespread criminal, illegal, and unethical conduct, including felonies.

Newman is represented by Jay Sekulow, who leads Newman’s team of attorneys from the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ).

During Newman’s tenure on the Board of the Center for Medical Progress, the NAF, and later Planned Parenthood, filed suits in a San Francisco Federal Court against Newman and others in an effort to prevent the release of further undercover videos that exposed the illegal trade in aborted baby body parts.

And it is little wonder that the NAF would not want the videos released.

Newman’s Supreme Court Petition notes that Congressional investigations conducted by the Senate Judiciary Committee and the House Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives referred members of the National Abortion Federation and Planned Parenthood to federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies for criminal investigation and prosecution.

Newman argues that the enjoined recordings corroborate the determination of the two Congressional investigations, which found evidence that NAF members (including several Planned Parenthood organizations) were engaged in the following criminal conduct:

• Profiting from the sale of fetal organs;
• Altering abortion procedures for financial gain;
• Performing illegal partial-birth abortions;
• Killing newborns who survived attempted abortions;
• Failing to obtain informed consent for fetal tissue donations;
• Violating federal regulations regarding Institutional Review Boards (IRBs); and
• Fraudulent overbilling practices.

Newman’s petition further states:

It has long been a tenet of Anglo-American jurisprudence that individuals who believe that they have information concerning criminal or illegal activities should be permitted, and encouraged, to voluntarily provide such information to government authorities. Similarly, investigative journalism concerning matters of public concern, including the uncovering of illegal, unethical, or troubling activities, is a constitutionally protected, venerable undertaking.

Newman’s unsuccessful appeal to the Ninth Circuit was joined by state 14 Attorneys General, led by Arizona, who are seeking to review the evidence contained in the recordings.

As the most important abortion case currently under litigation, Newman v. NAF could have profound implications on the future use of undercover investigative techniques and the ability of law enforcement to gather evidence in criminal investigations.

Read the Petition in Newman v. NAF

Blind Pro-Life Activist Acquitted of Battering Abortion Guard Trying to Steal His Sign

KCFL volunteer Joseph Elmore, KCFL director Mark Gietzen, and David Schmidt emerge from the
Sedgwick County Courthouse after Schmidt’s acquittal. (Photo: Dion Lefler, Wichita Eagle)

By Cheryl Sullenger

Wichita, KS — A nearly blind pro-life activist has been acquitted of battery charges that were brought after he defended a sign that an abortion clinic security guard was trying to steal.

David Schmidt, 74, who is considered legally blind, was serving as a volunteer for the Kansas Coalition for Life (KCFL) in July 2016, taking shifts outside the South Wind Women’s Center abortion facility located in Wichita, Kansas. He was wrongly arrested and jailed after the abortion business’ security guard, John Rayburn, attempted to illegally confiscate a sign that Schmidt had tied to a chair used by KCFL volunteers. A tussle over the sign ensued. [Read Operation Rescue’s original report on Schmidt’s arrest.]

Schmidt was convicted of battery in Wichita Municipal Court in February, but appealed the case to the Sedgwick County Superior Court, where he was exonerated on July 25, 2017.

Representing Schmidt at the appeal were Wichita attorney Peter Orsi and Martin Cannon of the Chicago-based Thomas More Society.

“These two guys got me out from under a pile of manure,” Schmidt told the Wichita Eagle soon after his acquittal.

The incident that led to Schmidt’s arrest arose from the 2016 enactment of a new city sign ordinance, which bans traditionally protected forms of free speech, including the use of sidewalk chalk and signs that are not hand-held.

Rayburn told the court that he attempted to take Schmidt’s sign, thinking it was in violation of the sign ordinance.

However, the Wichita Eagle reported, “Judge Terry Pullman ruled that Rayburn had no legal right to seize the sign because he’s a private citizen and had not been trained by the city in sign-code enforcement.”

Cannon argued successfully that Schmidt had a right to defend KCFL property from theft.

“We consider the sign ordinance to be unconstitutional. The South Wind abortion clinic is using it to bully, harass and intimidate pro-life activists that are peacefully offering information and practical assistance to abortion-bound women,” said Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue, which is based in Wichita, Kansas. “The fact that the City would willing serve as abortion facility henchmen is appallingly wrong and unacceptable.”

Just last week, another KCFL volunteer, Jennifer McCoy, informed Operation Rescue that the South Wind abortion business called the police on a 12-year old girl in McCoy’s care who was drawing with chalk on the sidewalk outside the abortion facility. The child was completely unaware of the ordinance and was just passing time coloring on the sidewalk, as children often like to do.

After some discussion, the police thankfully declined to arrest the child.

Free Speech Under Attack: Wichita Ordinance Bans Cross, Signage Displays at Abortion Facilities

By Cheryl Sullenger

Wichita, KS – Since Mother’s Day of 2004, a First Amendment religious display of wooden crosses representing the deaths of aborted children has been faithfully displayed each day during business hours outside a Wichita abortion facility. Over the years, the display withstood numerous attacks – both physical and legal.

On April 28, 2017, that all changed.

That’s when the City of Wichita began enforcing a new sign ordinance that prohibits stand-alone signage on the public right of ways.

Mark Gietzen, Chairman of the Kansas Coalition for Life, owns the cross display along with other pro-life signs that have been regularly displayed for years outside a building that first housed a late-term abortion facility and is now occupied by South Wind Women’s Center. In fact, Gietzen was even notified that the sign taped to his literature table that read “We can help you,” is now considered illegal.

Even the use of sidewalk chalk is now a crime in Wichita.

The only type of sign now legal is the hand-held type, which Gietzen says his members cannot use because they are busy handing out literature and speaking to women entering the abortion facility.

Gietzen sent a letter this week to Wichita Mayor Jeff Longwell and the City Council asking that they reconsider the ordinance because it violates Supreme Court precedent, and hinders his group’s free exercise of their First Amendment rights as well as the rights of women to receive their message.

Gietzen explained the importance of his displays:

KCFL Volunteers, assisted by their 1st Amendment signage, have saved the lives of more than 514 unborn babies who would otherwise have been put to death by abortion. The 514 associated mothers were simply given a choice, and were spared the grief and heartache of knowing that they killed their own child. Most of these now appreciative mothers, would not have known about the life-giving choices available to them, without seeing the KCFL signage located near the abortion facility.

Gietzen says his stand-alone displays are always attended, have never blocked vehicular or foot traffic, and were always completely picked up at the end of each business day.

Yet, there have been incidents with security guards stealing the signs and the city illegally confiscating them.

Last July, one of Gietzen’s nearly-blind volunteers was wrongly arrested after a clinic security guard attempted to steal a sign that the man had momentarily leaned against the literature table. A tussle over the sign ensued, which resulted in the man’s arrest.

“Also, during the past 13 years, NOT ONE City-of-Wichita sign-related complaint or citation has been issued, that stood up in court, even at the lowest levels of court,” wrote Gietzen.

Under the new ordinance, South Wind workers are free to impound pro-life signs outside the abortion business, increasing the chances that pro-life activists may be further bullied and attacked.

Gietzen hopes that the ordinance will be voluntarily rescinded by the city, but if it isn’t, he’s prepared to go to court to seek an injunction barring the city from enforcing their unconstitutional ordinance and infringing on the Constitutional Rights of his members.

Operation Rescue, which is based in Wichita, Kansas, stands ready to assist the Kansas Coalition for Life to restore right to display their their crosses and signage as they have for over a dozen years.

“The way the new sign ordinance is being implemented, it is obviously illegally targeting the pro-life activists and their audiences,” said Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue. “The Wichita City Council must rescind the unconstitutional law that favors South Wind’s shoddy and exploitative abortion business above the First Amendment rights of its citizens.”

Take action!

Contact Wichita Mayor Jeff Longwell and ask him to rescind the unconstitutional sign ordinance.

Voice:
(316) 268-4331
E-Mail: JLongwell@wichita.gov

Take Action! First Amendment Under Fire As New Mexico County Considers Picketing Ban

Albuquerque, NM – The Bernalillo County Commissioners are meeting this evening to consider a proposal that would ban picketing activity in the unincorporated areas near Albuquerque in response to a community awareness outreach conducted recently by pro-life activists with The Survivors of the Abortion Holocaust.

“Our recent Survivors Camp and Town Hall Meetings have clearly woken up Albuquerque and exposed its atrocities. The city is at a turning point and the entire nation is watching and waiting for the final outcome,” said Tara Shaver of Project Defending Life, which sponsored the Survivor events in Albuquerque earlier in the month. “Will there be some form of justice for the innocent in Albuquerque or not?”

Shaver is referring to a proposed new city ordinance that would ban abortion after 20 weeks in the city that is home to the largest late-term abortion clinic in the nation. Pro-life groups submitted nearly 27,000 signatures – more than twice the number of signatures needed – to place the late-term abortion ban on a citywide ballot.

While the signature verification process is still ongoing, the last official count as of Friday showed that only 837 more signatures needed to be verified for the proposed ordinance to be placed on the ballot in November with over 10,000 signatures left to process.

The ordinance proposal has brought the abortion debate to the forefront in Albuquerque, multiplying the effect of the Survivor protests.

Some have deemed the outreaches aimed at raising awareness of abortion as “inappropriate.” As a result, the Bernalillo County Commissioners are entertaining the idea of banning street protests in residential areas of the county. Such protests are already banned within the Albuquerque city limits.

“It’s no surprise that as we move forward we are met with resistance by those who oppose life. One by one across this nation our constitutional freedoms are being stripped away and Albuquerque is no different” said Shaver.

At issue for the Commissioners was an outreach in the unincorporated neighborhood of Los Ranchos de Albuquerque where The Survivors revealed that one of the residents, Larry Leeman, is an abortionist at the UNM Center for Reproductive Health abortion clinic in Albuquerque. Leeman also trains new abortionists. However, Leeman also delivers babies at local birthing center and at UNM Medical Center. Many residents were unaware of Leeman’s double life as an abortionist.

Since Leeman conducts abortions at a hospital that received tax-funding, it was considered to be very appropriate to help the people understand what their tax dollars are doing.

However, the Bernalillo County Commissioners want to shut down such outreaches and silence those who speak out against abortion or call abortionists to the attention of the public.

“The First Amendment was meant to guarantee that even unpopular or uncomfortable speech is protected in the free marketplace of ideas,” said Cheryl Sullenger, Senior Policy Advisor for Operation Rescue. “The Constitution doesn’t guarantee the right of people to be free from opinions with which they do not agree. We must fight to protect our rights to free speech, or else we will be hindered in our ability to change hearts and minds about abortion, and that will result in the continued loss of innocent life. In a very real way, the County Commissioner’s decision is a matter of life or death.”

Project Defending Life in conjunction with its legal counsel issued the following statement on a potential picketing ban to be adopted by Bernalillo County:

The contemplated action of the County Board of Commissioners to adopt a picketing ban presents a grave concern for the civil liberties of County residents. The Supreme Court of the United States has a long-standing tradition of protecting debate in public streets and sidewalks. A ban of this nature will bar the free-flow of expressive and political ideas that is a hallmark of our Nation’s devotion to democracy.

Because women from every state travel to Albuquerque for late-term abortions, this proposed picketing ban is a national issue affecting families in every state.

Operation Rescue is joining with Project Defending Life in asking for your help today.

Please call and email Bernalillo County Commissioners TODAY and ask them not to cower to the pro-abortion lobby that wants to provide anonymity to those brutally murdering children. Remind them that by passing this ordinance they will be infringing upon our rights as American citizens by restricting residential picketing in the unincorporated areas of Bernalillo County.

Ask the following County Commissioners to vote NO on this proposed picketing ban ordinance today:

Debbie O’Malley
(505) 468-7027
District1@bernco.gov

Maggie Hart Stebbins
(505) 468-7108
District3@bernco.gov

Art De La Cruz
(505) 468-7448
dherrera@bernco.gov

Lonnie C. Talbert
(505) 468-7010
District4@bernco.gov

Wayne A. Johnson
(505) 468-7212
kbrown@bernco.gov

If you are in the Albuquerque area, please attend their meeting, sign up for public comment and be a voice for those of us who still believe in the First Amendment right to free speech.

Board of County Commissioners Administrative Meeting
When: Tuesday, August 27
Time: 5:00 PM
Location: One Civic Plaza NW

For additional information or questions contact Tara Shaver: 505-319-7825

Urgent Video: “Now is the time to stand for life and justice on the streets of D.C.”

Please view the critically important video below from Rev. Patrick J. Mahoney:

We are only a few days away away from “A Time to Stand” in Washington, D.C.!

On August 13-14, the Christian community will be gathering for a time of prayer and prophetic witness for life and justice in our nation’s capital.

Please go to atimetostand.org for more details.

As you know, prayer and First Amendment activities have been banned and prohibited to protect abortion and Planned Parenthood. It is imperative that the Church respond in radical prayer, obedience, and engagement.

This is a critical time for our nation. If the Body of Christ will not passionately stand when prayer is banned on a public sidewalk in America, the question must be asked, “What will they stand for?”

Join with us!

If you can only make one day, Saturday, August 14 is the most important day to come out.

Let’s make history on the streets of Washington, D.C.

Carpools will be leaving Grace Church of Fredericksburg at:

12:30 P.M. on Friday, August 13
8:00 A.M. on Saturday, August 14

For more information go to atimetostand.org

Background on the history of the illegal fence

Watch the video of Rev. Mahoney’s arrest
PS: Please forward this to as many friends as possible!