Anti-abortion activists to discuss settlement in 2008 arrests

Anti-abortion advocates will gather at 10 a.m. Monday outside the Maryland State Police Headquarters in Pikesville to publicly discuss a $385,000 settlement involving both parties.

The activists and their attorneys will discuss details of the case, which they say include a requirement that all state troopers receive additional training.

The activists' federal lawsuit was over the August 2008 arrests of 18 protesters with Baltimore-based Defend Life during a Bel Air rally. The protesters argued the arrests were not legal and conducted improperly. The matter was settled in March.

A judge said the advocates' First Amendment rights had been violated.

The rally, which included posters of graphic images, had upset motorists in rush-hour traffic on Route 24 in Harford County. The protesters, including 16 adults and two juveniles, were charged with disorderly conduct, impeding traffic and loitering. The charges were dropped after many of the activists spent the night in custody to wait for a bail hearing.

Organizers said U.S. Rep. Andy Harris, a Republican, is expected to speak at the news conference, along with Tom Brejcha and Matt Paavola, attorneys who represented Defend Life in the lawsuit. Activists who were arrested will also be present.