Wichita, KS – Mark Gietzen lost his effort in small claims court yesterday to hold George Tiller’s abortion clinic and security chief John Rayburn accountable for a “stink bomb” attack on pro-lifers who stand vigil outside the gate of Women’s Health Care Services in Wichita, Kansas. However, Gietzen has vowed to take his case to the City Council and County Commission to ask for new ordinances protecting peaceful citizens from the noxious attacks that have had a chilling effect on the exercise of free speech.
Judge Stephen Woodring told Gietzen that he had not proved he had been damaged by the attack, and ruled in favor of the abortion clinic.
On September 20, 2007, Rayburn placed a jar containing an unknown pungent substance in Tiller’s parking lot directly next to where pro-lifers stand to pray and offer help to abortion-bound women. The only barrier between the foul stench and the pro-lifers was a flimsy cedar-plank fence. Gietzen told the Court that Rayburn did so in retaliation for an incident the previous day when pro-lifers were able to convince a woman not to have an abortion.
According to Gietzen, the stink-bomb attack sickened him and other volunteers, but none went to the doctor or received medical treatment. Concern over the stink-bomb attack led to a loss of several volunteers, who were intimidated into relinquishing their First Amendment rights.
Gietzen is the director of the Kansas Coalition for Life and is responsible for scheduling volunteers outside Tiller’s abortion clinic every hour they are open. He also drives Operation Rescue’s Wichita-based Truth Truck.
“Can you imagine if it had been a pro-life person who stink-bombed the abortion clinic? The Federal Marshals would have been involved and that person would be in jail. In this case, Tiller didn’t even get a slap on the wrist,” said Operation Rescue President Troy Newman. “We support Mr. Gietzen’s efforts to call for a city ordinance against stink bomb attacks, and we will do all we can to assist him. Tiller should not be allowed to bully praying moms and their kids with such despicable, and potentially harmful tactics.”