By Editorial Staff
Published March 17, 1999
By Bridget Hall, Staff Writer, Ocala Star-Banner
ORLANDO — The lawyer who made history in the 1973 landmark Roe v. Wade case legalizing abortion has returned to reproductive law and wants to make history again in several Florida abortion cases.
Roy Lucas, the architect of the “right to privacy” legal argument for abortion, now says overzealous protesters are violating the privacy of patients, abortion doctors and their staff.
“The days of peaceful protesting are gone,” said Lucas, attorney for Dr. James Pendergraft who owns the Ocala Women’s Center. “The protesting has stepped up to the level of harassment under the guise of the First Amendment. Really this is more like domestic stalking.”
And that is how Lucas says the courts should treat the anti-abortion protesters. In the lawsuit he filed last December and the temporary injunction he filed Tuesday, he asked the courts to keep protesters from coming within 75 feet of the Ocala clinic or bringing weapons or surveillance equipment within 1,500 feet of the clinic.
He also asked that protesters be banned from saying words like “abortuary” and “death” to patients, and that anti-abortion signs contain only words, not pictures of fetuses. He wants those signs to carry the following disclaimer: “Medical abortion is authorized by Florida law and the United States Constitution and has been sanctioned as safe by the American Medical Association.”
In a separate lawsuit, Lucas has asked that Internet providers be held liable for allowing protesters access to databases of motor vehicle departments, because he said abortion foes have used those databases to track down patients going to an abortion clinic he represents in Melbourne.
Matt Staver, attorney for Rev. Ed Martin, who leads the anti-abortion protesters outside Pendergraft’s clinic, said Lucas’ strategies are at best unorthodox and at worst unethical.
“He should have some support and basis for these allegations,” Staver said. “He has legal claims that don’t make sense, that no court in the country will ever accept, yet he’s made them and made them unashamedly.”
But Lucas said even if the courts are not ready for such strict limitations on protesters, it is time to lay the legal foundation.
“These are things that we might not get for another five years, but it will help other people down the line,” he said. “Many things that were considered radical 20 years ago are commonplace today.”
Lucas, 57, has championed abortion rights since penning an article for the June 1968 issue of the North Carolina Law Review in which he laid out the blueprint for legalizing abortion. Four years later, when Roe v. Wade came before the Supreme Court, Lucas filed the main brief.
Lucas continued practicing law until 1985, when he took an 11-year hiatus to visit 200 of the country’s natural parks and paint landscape scenes. After surviving a two-year bout with non- Hodgkin’s lymphoma, Lucas moved to Florida and returned to reproductive law.
“If you know the history from 1967 to 1971, Roy Lucas has done more than any lawyer in American history to make abortion rights available, but the number of people who know that could fit in a good-sized classroom,” said David Garrow, Emory University professor on reproductive law. “It’s not surprising that there would remain a hunger or an appetite.”
Lucas is representing Pendergraft in his suit against the Ocala Police Department, the Marion County Sheriff’s Office and a dozen protesters. The suit, filed last December, asks that protesters be kept at bay and that law enforcement provide an off-duty officer for security at the clinic.
Lucas also represents the Aware Woman Center for Choice in Melbourne. That clinic filed suit in January against 17 protesters and America Online, CompuServe and TML Information Services.
Lucas said protesters have copied down visitors’ license plate numbers and used the Internet providers to obtain those visitors’ names and addresses from TML’s database of motor vehicle information.
Christopher Sapp, the attorney representing the lead protester at Aware Woman, Meredith Raney, did not return several calls for comment.
Lucas has another lawsuit for Pendergraft in the works, a class action suit against Neal Horsley, the Georgia creator of the “Nuremberg Files” website that listed some 200 abortion doctors and asked visitors to send photos, videotapes, and any personal information about the doctors.
Horsley wanted the information, the site said, “in anticipation that one day we may be able to hold (abortion doctors) on trial for crimes against humanity.”
The site has been inaccessible since early February, when an Oregon jury ordered a dozen defendants associated with the site — but not Horsley — to pay Planned Parenthood and other plaintiffs more than $100 million in damages.
The jury found that the site amounted to a death threat against abortion doctors, their associates and families. The defendants plan to appeal.
Suing a web site, seeking injunctions against the utterance of certain words and requiring disclaimers on protesters’ signs may test the First Amendment, but Pendergraft secured Lucas because he wanted an attorney who would push the envelope.
“We have to be innovative with the abortion situation because the anti-establishment has become very innovative,” Pendergraft said. “They couldn’t win in the courts, so they went to the legislature. When they fail there, they’ll go onto something else. We always have to be on our toes.”
Lucas said even though his approach would limit protester’s activities, he is not out to curb free speech. He said his first case before the Supreme Court was a First Amendment case.
“I’ve always done a lot of that work, but when it gets to the point that they’re selling roadmaps to stalkers that have killed a lot of doctors, that’s stepping over the bounds.”
Forerunner - Home » Florida's Murder Industry »
Your comments are welcome!
“Here I stand … I can do no other!”
With these immortal words, an unknown German monk sparked a spiritual revolution that changed the world.
The dramatic classic film of Martin Luther’s life was released in theaters worldwide in the 1950s and was nominated for two Oscars. A magnificent depiction of Luther and the forces at work in the surrounding society that resulted in his historic reform efforts, this film traces Luther’s life from a guilt-burdened monk to his eventual break with the Roman Catholic Church.
Running time: 105 minutes
Special offer: Order 5 or more for $5 each.
Watch a clip from Martin Luther.
$9.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
High Quality Paperback — 219 pages
Foundations in Biblical Orthodoxy
Driving down a country road sometime, you might see a church with a sign proudly proclaiming: “No book but the Bible — No creed but Christ.” The problem with this statement is that the word creed (from the Latin: credo) simply means “belief.” All Christians have beliefs, regardless of whether they are written.
Yet a single book containing the actual texts of the most important creeds of the early Church will not often be found. Out of the multitude of works on the evangelical Christian book market today, those dealing with the creeds of the Church are scarce.
Why Creeds and Confessions? provides a foundation of biblical orthodoxy as a defense against the false and truly heretical doctrines advanced by the spirit of this age.
$14.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
Exposes the Dangers of Abortion to Women!
These shocking eyewitness accounts expose the dangers of abortion not only to unborn children, but to the health and lives women as well. An antidote to the smokescreens of the liberal media, these short clips show what really happens in and around abortion clinics.
Although the content is emotionally gut-wrenching, these videos have been used in church seminars and small groups to educate Christians on the abortion issue and to lead people toward a pro-life position. Contains 2 hours and 40 minutes of materials that can be shown separately.
Watch these pro-life videos on-line.
“These videos helped change my mind from pro-choice to pro-life. Your videos are what did it for me. I will be walking in next year’s March For Life in San Francisco.” — A. Jackson, California
“I was going to have an abortion until I saw your video. Praise Jesus!”
— M. Drew, YouTube Commenter
$4.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
High Quality Paperback — 200 pages
A Reasonable Response to Christian Postmodernism
Includes a response to the book Christian Jihad by Colonel V. Doner
The title of this book is a misnomer. In reality, I am not trying to get anyone to shut up, but rather to provoke a discussion. This book is a warning about the philosophy of “Christian postmodernism” and the threat that it poses not only to Christian orthodoxy, but to the peace and prosperity our culture as well. The purpose is to equip the reader with some basic principles that can be used to refute their arguments.
Part 1 is a response to some of the recent writings by Frank Schaeffer, the son of the late Francis Schaeffer. This was originally written as a defense against Frank’s attacks on pro-life street activism – a movement that his father helped bring into being through his books, A Christian Manifesto, How Should We Then Live? and Whatever Happened to the Human Race? These works have impacted literally hundreds of thousands of Christian activists.
Part 2 is a response to Colonel Doner and his book, Christian Jihad: Neo-Fundamentalists and the Polarization of America. Doner was one of the key architects of the Christian Right that emerged in the 1980s, who now represents the disillusionment and defection many Christian activists experienced in the 1990s and 2000s. There is still great hope for America to be reformed according to biblical principles. As a new generation is emerging, it is important to recognize the mistakes that Christian activists have made in the past even while holding to a vision for the future.
$14.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
Download the Free Study Guide!
Just what is Calvinism?
Does this teaching make man a deterministic robot and God the author of sin? What about free will? If the church accepts Calvinism, won’t evangelism be stifled, perhaps even extinguished? How can we balance God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility? What are the differences between historic Calvinism and hyper-Calvinism? Why did men like Augustine, Luther, Calvin, Spurgeon, Whitefield, Edwards and a host of renowned Protestant evangelists embrace the teaching of predestination and election and deny free will theology?
This is the first video documentary that answers these and other related questions. Hosted by Eric Holmberg, this fascinating three-part, four-hour presentation is detailed enough so as to not gloss over the controversy. At the same time, it is broken up into ten “Sunday-school-sized” sections to make the rich content manageable and accessible for the average viewer.
Running Time: 257 minutes
$19.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)