DENVER (CBS4)- The Department of Justice Civil Rights Division has filed a lawsuit against a couple from Colorado. They are accused of interfering with people trying to enter a clinic in Denver that conducts abortions.
They’re accused of blocking cars, yelling at people entering the clinic and in one instance, using force against someone trying to enter the clinic.
JoAnn Scott is seen in surveillance video during one of those protests outside a clinic. She is seen with a scarf on her head, walking alongside a person entering the clinic. Scott was convicted of interfering with that person and sentenced to spend 90 days in jail.
She and her husband, Ken Scott, are facing a lawsuit that claims the couple violated civil rights laws by obstructing people from entering clinic entrances.
“Obviously they have freedom of speech, but when that interferes with intimidating or harassing people that’s not acceptable,” said Planned Parenthood spokeswoman Monica McCafferty.
“This lawsuit by the federal government is an act of vengeance and they are angry at those who say this is wrong,” said Colorado Right to Life spokesman Bob Enyart.
“It’s just amazing how they can try and make Ken and I out to be criminals when they are committing murder behind those walls,” said JoAnn Scott during Enyart’s radio show on Thursday.
“Obviously with the protestors they scream and so forth, it can be distressing to clients and we do everything to insure they have a safe experience,” said McCafferty.
The federal law involved in the lawsuit is called FACE, which stands for “Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act.”
The government is asking for $5,000 fines for each patient and those accompanying them. They’re also asking for the court to prevent the couple from coming within 25 feet of clinic property.
Ken and JoAnn Scott declined requests for an interview with CBS4.