A federal judge ruled Thursday that an anti-abortion extremist’s threatening letter to a Wichita, KS Doctor is protected under the First Amendment and does not constitute as “true threat.”
In 2011, the Department of Justice filed a civil lawsuit against Angel Dillard for writing to Mila Means, a doctor who planned to start offering abortion services, telling her that she would have to start checking under her car every day for explosives. The Justice Department accused Dillard of violating the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act (FACE), a law protecting abortion clinics.
Although Dr. Means testified in court that she felt threated by the letter and had undertaken several security measures in response, U.S. District Judge J. Thomas Marten ruled that the government failed to prove that actual violence against Dr. Means was likely or imminent.
Dillard has been associated with anti-abortion groups in Kansas. In July 2009, Dillard confirmed she had corresponded with Scott Roeder, then in a Wichita jail awaiting trial for the murder of Wichita abortion provider Dr. George Tiller. Dillard told the Associated Press, “With one move, (Roeder) was able…to accomplish what we had not been able to do…So he followed his convictions and I admire that.”
In her letter to Dr. Means, Dillard wrote among other things: “You will be checking under your car everyday – because maybe today is the day someone places an explosive under it.” She also added: “We will not let this abomination continue without doing everything we can to stop it.”
Media Resources: Feminist Majority Foundation 4/19/2011; Feminist Majority Foundation 4/21/2011; Feminist Majority Foundation 8/8/2012; Kansas City Star 8/15/2013