A Kansas court has dismissed criminal charges filed against a pro-life woman who was arrested in the driveway of an abortion clinic for allegedly blocking traffic entering and leaving its parking lot. A police officer contradicted the city’s claim that she had been ordered to cease her activities before her arrest.
Along with several other pro-life advocates, Carrie Kafka, an employee of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, has reportedly distributed educational information on a monthly basis for over a year on a public sidewalk next to an Overland Park, Kansas Planned Parenthood abortion clinic parking lot.
According to a press release from the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF), Kafka was careful not to trespass or obstruct traffic entering or exiting the clinic and interacted only with those who willingly stopped their cars and invited a conversation.
Kafka was arrested by Overland Park Police in March for criminal trespass, despite never crossing onto Planned Parenthood property. The charge against her was changed to allege she obstructed vehicles entering and leaving the parking lot.
Security video contradicted the charges, as did a police officer’s testimony.
ADF Litigation Counsel Daniel Blomberg on Wednesday argued at Kafka’s trial that she should not have been arrested because she never violated the relevant ordinance. Further, he said, city police failed to order her to cease conduct and leave, as required by the ordinance.
The Overland Park Municipal Court agreed that Kafka was wrongly arrested and dismissed the charges against her.
“Pro-life advocates shouldn’t be arrested on trumped-up charges and denied their free speech rights,” Blomberg said in a statement. “We are pleased that the court dismissed the charges against Ms. Kafka so she can once again exercise her First Amendment rights.”
ADF attorneys are considering whether to file a federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the ordinance, which they claim is overly broad and would outlaw a variety of acceptable and legal activities.