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Pro-Lifer Files Harassment Suit After Being Intimidated and Licked by Counter-Protesters

10-22-2020
Disputes between pro-life and pro-choice advocates outside an abortion clinic in Tennessee have led to a harassment suit.
 
Pro-life advocate Erika Schanzenbach claims two women repeatedly sought her out whenever she stood outside of the Bristol Regional Women's Center, surrounding her, blocking her view, licking her arms and yelling profanities at her.
 
Schanzenbach captured some of the intimidation tactics used by the pro-choice protesters and posted the videos online.
 
Warning: This video does include profanity and disturbing behavior.

Thomas More Society attorneys filed a lawsuit on October 2 on behalf of Schanzenbach after a Sullivan County judge denied her request for orders of protection against the women earlier this year.
 
A trial in that case was held in August, where the judge found that the allegations would be more fitting in a civil lawsuit, and he dismissed the case without prejudice. Schanzenbach has since filed an appeal of that ruling to the Tennessee Court of Appeals.
 
The Thomas More Society's newest lawsuit names Denise Skeen, her adult daughter Alethea Skeen – who self-identify online as "Pro-Choice Bristol" – and also includes the Bristol Regional Women's Center abortion facility. It seeks damages for the physical harm and emotional distress, and in injunction to stop their behavior.
 
The pro-choice group's Facebook page lists their goal as, "People entering and leaving the clinic to receive or provide medical services will be not be victim to being accosted, taunted, harassed, heckled or intimidated...We will use any means necessary to physically block the harassers from sight and mask shouts and calls."
 
Attorneys with the Thomas More Society say Schanzenbach has been peacefully exercising her First Amendment rights and her opponents have "stepped beyond the limits of civility and the law."
 
"The Skeens have engaged in abusive, threatening, and illegal conduct – which they boast about online," Attorney Michael McHale said. "Their hostile and belligerent conduct cannot be allowed to continue unchecked. The court must hold the Skeens and the Bristol Regional Women's Center accountable for their misdeeds."
 

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