Pro-life counselor seeks protection from 'radical abortion militants'


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A Tennessee woman has gone to the Court of Appeals in Tennessee seeking help in getting protection from some “radical abortion militants” who have been accused of stalking her outside an abortion business in Bristol.

A report from the Thomas More Society explains that Erika Schanzenbach was refused help by the Sullivan County Chancery Court, which “erroneously” found that protection orders were not the way to stop the “repeated and relentless harassment” in the case.

The appeal was filed in the Court of Appeals for the Eastern District of Tennessee in Knoxville.

Thomas More Society Senior Counsel Martin Cannon said that Schanzenbach has managed to “remain calm in a fearful situation.”

“Tennessee law plainly states that any victim of stalking can obtain a protection order against a perpetrator of stalking regardless of their relationship,” explained Counsel Michael McHale. “And the stalking statute expressly protects against being stalked — i.e., repeatedly followed, approached, accosted, etc., without consent — at places to which one frequently returns, such as one’s workplace, residence, or any public place or private property such as a grocery store, church, or school.

“The trial court’s assumption that Erika’s courage to stand up for the unborn means she didn’t feel intimidation or fear is inconsistent with both law and common sense.”

Cannon added, “Erika testified that she changed the dates and times she appeared outside the abortion facility to try to avoid her assailants. Further, the court presumed to infer that Erika’s subdued ‘mannerisms’ in one video clip meant she did not experience the requisite distress in any of the numerous incidents documented on hours of video footage accepted into evidence–thereby, unbelievably, prejudicing Erika for her ability to remain calm in a fearful situation and unfairly extrapolating one incident to represent more than six months of repeated harassment.”

McHale and Cannon explained Schanzenbach is a peaceful pro-life witness, and that her original lawsuit, filed in January 2020, along with petitions for protection orders, was a result of the physical harm and emotional distress that she has suffered at the hands of the members of this radical pro-abortion organization.

The appeal asks for orders protecting her from feeling “frightened, terrorized, threatened, harassed, intimidated, or molested.”

The trial judge claimed Schanzenbach did not prove she was distressed since she continues to witness to life outside the abortion facility.

At issue is the behavior of several individuals outside the Bristol Regional Women’s Center abortion facility, where Schanzenbach serves as a peaceful pro-life advocate offering information on life affirming alternatives to abortion.

The evidence presented in the case includes video boasts by those accused of harassment, which has included lewd comments, profanities, taunts and obscene gestures, as well as electronic sounds being blasted at her.

“These defendants have stepped beyond the limits of both civility and the law in their attempt to shut down pro-life speech. Erika Schanzenbach is peacefully exercising her First Amendment rights to speak against abortion and advocate for life-affirming alternatives,” said McHale.

Court documents reveal the defendants are Alethea Skeen, Denise Skeen, Rowan Skeen and Cheryl Hanzlik.

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This article was originally published by the WND News Center.

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