Anti-abortion group must pay $850,000 of Planned Parenthood’s legal fees after being fined $110k over noise volations
Feb. 3, 2023 Updated Fri., Feb. 3, 2023 at 10:19 p.m.
An anti-abortion group must pay about $960,000 to Planned Parenthood of Greater Washington and North Idaho to cover legal fees and a fine for protests that interfered with patient care.
The Church at Planned Parenthood was ordered to pay $110,000 in civil damages to Planned Parenthood last month after a Spokane County judge ruled that the group interfered with patient care, violating state law.
The group was also required to pay Planned Parenthood’s attorney fees.
Those attorney fees total $850,000, according to Legal Voice and Planned Parenthood. That number was reached as part of a settlement between Planned Parenthood and the church’s insurance company, Wendy Heipt with Legal Voice confirmed.
Litigation related to the civil case has been ongoing since 2020, with multiple law firms involved, Heipt said. The Church at Planned Parenthood was founded by Covenant Church, where former state Rep. Matt Shea was a pastor. Since then, Shea has split from co-founder Ken Peters, who now pastors Patriot Church. Shea leads On Fire Ministries in Spokane.
“This is a critical victory for Planned Parenthood at a time of historical attacks on abortion access,” Paul Dillon, vice president of public affairs for the local Planned Parenthood chapter, said in a statement. “We are so thankful for the work of Legal Voice as well as the overwhelming support of the community. We are proud to provide a safe, welcoming environment for our employees and our patients, so they can get the high quality health care they need.”
The groups hope the large sum will serve as a warning that there are consequences to disrupting access to health care, Heipt said.
Peters did not immediately respond to request for comment. Last month after the judge ruled on damages, Peters posted to his Facebook page noting the organization owes Planned Parenthood a lot of money for what he characterized as “lawful and peaceful assembly,” despite multiple court rulings indicating the protests were unlawful.
“I would do it again,” Peters wrote. “It’s a badge of honor.”
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