A judge acquitted a 66-year-old woman after she was arrested while advocating for life outside an Alabama abortion clinic.
The Municipal Court of Huntsville, Ala., found Alison Harris not guilty in “Huntsville v. Alison Harris,” a decision following court deliberation on March 16 according to case documents.
The decision came after police arrested Harris, a pro-life sidewalk counselor, on May 26, 2017, and charged her with disorderly conduct for praying outside of the clinic and attempting to talk to the patients as they entered the clinic. Her arrest came after she tried to persuade women seeking abortions at the Alabama Women’s Center for Reproductive Alternatives — one of the most well-known clinics in Alabama — to consider other life-affirming options.
The officer arrested Harris after the abortion clinic requested a warrant for her arrest following the use of a megaphone to spread her message. The Alabama court found the warrant inconsequential, however, because Harris’ megaphone volume fell below the decibel limit allowed by the Huntsville city ordinance.
“We were preparing for a retrial in a higher court,” Harris’ attorney, Thomas More Society special counsel Sam McLure, said in a press statement. “However, we were blessed with a good judge and a courtroom full of praying supporters, and the law was on our side.”
A similar situation occurred in Michigan when a pro-lifer filed a complaint after police insisted he stop sidewalk counseling outside abortion clinics, alleging he was gravely disturbing the peace. A Detroit suburb agreed to pay Michael Mattia $1 dollar in March after Judge David Lawson ruled Center Line’s police infringed upon Mattia’s right to free speech, according to The Associated Press.
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