(WICHITA, Kan.)—A Sedgwick County Judge is considering whether to dismiss a protection from stalking order against an anti-abortion activist accused of threatening the executive director of South Wind Women's Center.
Judge James Beasley listened to 45 minutes of arguments Tuesday during a hearing on a motion to dismiss filed by the attorney representing Pastor Mark Holick of Spirit One Ministries.
In a Petition for Protection From Stalking Order, Burkhart alleges Holick handed out "wanted-style" flyers listing her home address and encouraged other anti-abortion activists to "bring her to Jesus and eternal life."
The flyer urged people to "adopt" Burkhart and "do a public outreach at her home."
In the petition, Burkhart accused Holick of "pointing a sign" toward her house in February that read "Where's your church?" Burkhart took that to be a reference to the 2009 murder of abortion provider Dr. George Tiller inside his Wichita church.
Burkhart wrote the actions were "meant to scare" her and that she took them "very seriously."
In asking for the dismissal, Holick's attorney Donald McKinney argued his client engaged in protected free speech. McKinney said the state stalking law was never intended "to restrict legitimate First Amendment protest activities and religious expression."
McKinney argued Burkhart's petition failed to demonstrate she was threatened or ever in imminent danger.
He pointed to a 2011 U.S. Supreme Court ruling involving Westboro Baptist Church founder Fred Phelps. In that case the nation's highest court determined "the government may not prohibit the expression of an idea simply because society finds the idea itself offensive or disagreeable."
Judge Beasley took the case under advisement and is expected to issue a ruling in 5-10 days.