Planned Parenthood has filed a lawsuit in its effort to keep pro-life advocates from holding Christian services outside of its clinic in Spokane, Washington.
Planned Parenthood of Greater Washington and North Idaho claims that the noise from the outdoor worship services held by a group known as The Church at Planned Parenthood interferes with patient care.
The lawsuit, filed last month, seeks to have TCAPP barred from gathering at the Spokane clinic. According to Planned Parenthood, the noise from the gatherings violates Spokane’s noise ordinance.
“These are not protesters — they are bullies who are trying to take away care from young women, men, the LGBTQ community and Black, Indigenous, people of color in Spokane,” Karl Eastlund, CEO of Planned Parenthood of Greater Washington and North Idaho, said in a statement, according to The Spokesman-Review.
— karis peters (@karis_peters) May 19, 2020
“We’re here to worship, pray, preach together. That’s all we do. We’re here to fight with spiritual weapons,” Covenant Church pastor Ken Peters, who founded TCAPP, said during a late June gathering.
“They can try to keep us quiet with the sound ordinance, but they can’t stop us. So if we got to sing quiet, we’ll sing quiet. But we’re not going to stop singing. We’re not going to stop praising. We’re not going to stop,” he added.
During the June gathering, he suggested that the suit reflects religious persecution.
“The most hated race in America is Christians right now. It really is,” Peters said.
The gatherings, complete with a public address system, have been taking place since 2018. Attendance varies from 200 to 700 depending upon the night and who is doing the counting.
Peters said that worship does not start until the facility’s posted closing time.
“They’re not even open,” he told The Spokesman View. “We start at 6 o’clock; they close at 6.”
But Planned Parenthood claims patients are still been seen until at least 7 p.m.
Paul Dillon, vice president of public affairs with the regional Planned Parenthood, said the noise impacts patients.
“It’s really, really frustrating and should not be allowed to happen, when the laws are very clear in Washington state and the city of Spokane about interference with health care facilities,” Dillon told Crosscut. “It’s extremely unnerving for the patients at Planned Parenthood.”
“This is not a church. This is not a church at all,” Dillon said. “You know, they can call themselves whatever they want, [but] in no way, shape or form is this a church.”
Peters is unapologetic for the group’s activities.
“We want to get as close to Planned Parenthood as we can, because the closer we are, the bigger the statement that it makes,” he told Crosscut. “It makes a statement that we disagree with what they’re doing.”
“We’re not there to stop their business,” he added. “We’re there to worship God and pray for the end of abortion.”
Peters responded with humor when told that Planned Parenthood considered the group’s singing an issue.
“Some of our singers, they sing quite off-key. So that could scare a lot of people, I understand,” he said. “I guess church scares some people. But it doesn’t seem like any sort of threat to me.”
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