published Saturday, November 2nd, 2013

Kansas judge won't dismiss stalking order on abortion protester accused of harassment

WICHITA, Kan. — A Kansas judge won't summarily dismiss the case against an abortion protester accused of harassing the woman who opened Wichita's first abortion clinic since Dr. George Tiller's 2009 murder.

Sedgwick County Judge James Beasley says in a ruling released Saturday that only a trial can determine whether a Wichita pastor's statements and acts are protected under the First Amendment.

Clinic operator Julie Burkhart has a temporary order of protection against stalking against pastor Mark Holick. Burkhart filed the case after "wanted-style" fliers listing her home address surfaced around town. She also accuses Holick of pointing a sign at her house that read, "Where's your church?" Burkhart's lawyer says that's threatening because Tiller was killed at his church.

Holick's lawyer argues allowing the order threatens the civil rights of protesters.

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