Dick Retta stands outside a Planned Parenthood clinic in downtown Washington three days a week, trying to persuade pregnant women not to get abortions. The 80-year-old grandfather has been coming to the clinic for eight years and said he’s personally persuaded over 400 women to leave this clinic and others.
Retta says his approach is friendly, gentle and loving. Government lawyers portray him differently, calling him “among the most vocal and aggressive anti-abortion protestors” outside the clinic.
In court documents, they say he routinely follows patients entering the building and yells at them as the clinic door closes. Last year he physically blocked a woman from entering the clinic, shouting at her not to kill her baby, they say.
As a result they sued Retta over last year’s incident, using a 1994 law that makes it a crime to intimidate or interfere with someone obtaining reproductive health services. He is one of a handful of people nationwide charged every year under the law. Lawyers for the government and Retta have a meeting before a judge Thursday to see if they can come to an agreement in the case, but it’s unclear how likely that is.
“They’d like to get rid of me,” said Retta, who acknowledges he’s persistent and assertive with his message but denies ever blocking access to the clinic.
Read More at OfficialWire By Jessica Gresko
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