by Hannah Tomlinson | DEPUTY COUNSEL
Maybe it was just the heat that day. No doubt nerves were raw among clinic workers at the Columbia Planned Parenthood, where every day sidewalk counselors stand outside to peacefully pull away customers and share a bit of love. But that day, clinic workers jumped at the opportunity to cause trouble for one veteran counselor.
The thermometer read 100 degrees July 24, 2012, and Kathy Thebo Forck offered a cold bottle of water to a Stericycle truck driver leaving the abortion clinic’s parking lot. That act of kindness got her arrested, and soon after the Columbia Municipal Court declared her guilty of trespass. But Judge Gary Oxenhandler didn’t buy it.
Judge Oxenhandler has sat on the 13th Circuit since 2002, and was ranked a favorite among local attorneys for his legal knowledge, demeanor, rapport and overall courtroom presence.
Thomas More Society special counsel Daniel Baker stepped in to help with Ms. Forck’s appeal. Fortunately for Ms. Forck, not only did she have effective counsel, she had video. After hearing the testimony of Planned Parenthood’s witnesses and watching the security camera footage “documenting” the trespass, Judge Oxenhandler dismissed the charges. He was stern when he declared Planned Parenthood and the City of Columbia simply did not have the evidence to prove their case.
In this case, false testimony failed. Ms. Forck continues to offer peaceful sidewalk counselling at the Columbia facility, and in February 2014 that same Planned Parenthood lost its licence to perform abortions.
When the righteous rule, the people rejoice!
We rejoice with the Thomas More Society for this victory, always thankful for their work. We also rejoice with Ms. Forck, for her patience and faithfulness in this great ministry.
We in the Pro-Life community must continue to work together to see that good and honest men and women sit in positions of power. Our prosecutors have the power to bring just charges and let false claims fall.
In this case, we are glad a good judge got it right!
Read the story from the Thomas More Society.