For over two years, anti-abortion extremists held rallies directly outside of the Spokane Planned Parenthood Health Care Center. Calling themselves “The Church at Planned Parenthood” (TCAPP), these extremists used amplified speakers to loudly denounce Planned Parenthood and interrupt the provision of the health care services they provide. In addition, TCAPP members blocked access to the clinic, intimidated patients, and often carried concealed weapons. These ‘services’ attracted a variety of local and national hate group representatives, including the founder of Patriot Prayer, a hate group associated with the Proud Boys.
All of these intimidation tactics had the desired effect: they negatively impacted Planned Parenthood’s delivery of health care services. Staff were forced to shuttle patients between offices and patients sometimes chose not to follow through with their appointments, rather than run through the gauntlet of armed protestors blocking their way.
In June 2020, Legal Voice and pro-bono counsel Davis Wright Tremaine filed a lawsuit against TCAPP. We alleged violations of state and local laws — for which the police were not holding them accountable.
A year after we filed this suit, we won a permanent injunction against TCAPP, preventing them from amassing closer than thirty-five feet from the Spokane Planned Parenthood Health Care Center and using their amplified sound system during Planned Parenthood’s working hours.
Although this injunction stopped TCAPP from further violations of the law, we weren’t done holding them accountable for the illegal behavior.
In December 2022, we had a hearing in Spokane County Superior Court on our motion for damages, and the judge awarded us the full $110,000!
After the judge awarded us damages in December, the parties entered into negotiations to settle all remaining claims and the attorneys’ fees we accrued in holding TCAPP accountable for their illegal behavior. As a result of those negotiations, TCAPP will have to pay the plaintiffs $850,000.
This puts anti-choice extremists on notice: Legal Voice and our allies will hold them accountable. We will vigorously pursue every dollar owed to our clients to ensure anti-choice harassers actually pay for their illegal actions. We will make sure their actions are seen for what they are: crimes.
We will also continue our work to ensure that the communities we serve are able to access the reproductive health care that they deserve and that this access comes without intimidation or shame.
We at Legal Voice are deeply appreciative of the stellar legal work done by our allies at Davis Wright Tremaine, and are in deep solidarity with our allies on the front lines at Planned Parenthood. We do this work in community, for the liberation of us all, and could not achieve these successes without the support and encouragement of every person who fights for beloved community with us.
For more background on this case, you can read our previous blog posts in Announcements.