Maryland resident Richard Retta has been accused of violating the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act by doing nothing more than exercising his First Amendment rights when he presents information to and talks to women considering abortions. For more than 10 years, he has helped women heading to the Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington abortion center find the kind of alternatives the abortion business never provides.
But the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division sees the gentle man as some sort of terrorist.
According to the Courthouse News Service, it has filed a lawsuit claiming Retta is one of “the most vocal and aggressive anti-abortion protestors.” How so? The Obama administration claims, “On one occasion, defendant walked so closely to a patient that he stepped on the patient’s shoe and broke the shoe strap.”
Although the nicest pair of high heels may set someone back hundreds of dollars, the Obama administration is suing Retta for $10,000 for violating the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act, and is ordering him to pay compensatory damages of $5,000 each to three supposed victims of Retta handing out information and telling women to not have an abortion.
The government, which has a different view on what constitutes free speech, says Retta “attempted to, and did, by physical obstruction, intentionally intimidate or interfere with persons because they were or had been providing or obtaining reproductive health services, or in order to intimidate such persons from providing or obtaining reproductive health services at the Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington.”
Tina Korbe, of the conservative blog Hot Air, commented on the case and said the characterization of the Obama administration is at odds with those who know Retta personally.
“Those who know Dick Retta describe him as a peaceful, prayerful man, who regards his sidewalk counseling outside the Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington as a ministry.