A Christian pro-life organization has agreed to pay $960,00 in legal fees and damages for hosting worship services outside a Spokane, Washington, Planned Parenthood clinic.
According to The Christian Post, The Church at Planned Parenthood (TCAPP), a group organized by Covenant Church, agreed to pay $850,000 in legal fees and $110,000 in damages for holding worship services outside the Spokane Planned Parenthood Health Care Center in 2020.
"Planned Parenthood Sues our little church for Peaceful Assembly, and it costs Christians $850,000 for mostly Corrupt Lawyer's Fees," TCAPP Pastor Ken Peters wrote on Facebook last Friday. "The only difference… We have to do 7 pm instead of 6 pm and go across the street. $850k over one hour and across the street. Wow. That's a lot of money they stole from the Kingdom over one hour. We are restarting again March 14 at 7 pm. See you there, Pacific NW. It ain't over."
In a press release last week, the Seattle-based law firm Legal Voice, representing Planned Parenthood, applauded the ruling, calling it "a win for abortion providers."
"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," Legal Voice said.
"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."
Planned Parenthood claimed that the worship events disrupted the clinic's services and alleged that some of the service attendees attempted to intimidate people entering the clinic.
"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," Legal Voice contended.
According to TCAPP's website, the group does not consider itself a protest group but "a worship service at the gates of Hell."
"The Church at Planned Parenthood is a gathering of Christians for the worship of God and the corporate prayer for repentance for this nation, repentance for the apathetic church and repentance of our blood-guiltiness in this abortion holocaust," the group stated.
The group faced previous legal trouble in 2020 when Planned Parenthood of Greater Washington and North Idaho sued them for holding worship services that allegedly violated the local noise ordinance and a state law prohibiting disruptions at healthcare facilities.
In September 2020, a Washington state Superior Court judge issued a preliminary injunction against TCAPP and ordered the pro-life organization to move services across the street from the clinic.
In 2021, Spokane County Superior Court Judge Timothy B. Fennessy issued a permanent injunction against TCAPP, asserting that "reasonable minds can only reach one conclusion, that Covenant Church intends to interfere with access to or safe and effective delivery of health care services provided by" the abortion clinic.
Last December, Fennessy also granted the abortion provider's motion for $110,000 in damages. This led to negotiations that resulted in the $850,000 in legal fees that the group was recently ordered to pay.
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Michael B. Thomas/Stringer
Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer and content creator. He is a contributing writer for Christian Headlines and the host of the For Your Soul Podcast, a podcast devoted to sound doctrine and biblical truth. He holds a Masters of Divinity from Alliance Theological Seminary.