Conservatives are daily facing new threats to our freedoms and rights. Who is fighting back? A group of pro-lifers recently filed a lawsuit in order to protect their First Amendment rights. A class action lawsuit has been filed in federal and state court this month against Voice of Choice, Inc., its founder, Todd Stave and current director Wendy Robinson.
On the VOC website, Todd Stave and Wendy Robinson urge their followers to identify abortion clinic protestors so they can label them as “bullies” and thereby encourage harassment of these individuals by publishing their personal information.
Who are these so-called “bullies” that are being targeted? Two of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit are Lisa and Mark Metzger, sidewalk counselors in NC, as mentioned in the press release below…
Suits Filed Against Voice of Choice and Founder, Todd Stave
Westminster, Maryland, November 25, 2013 – After sidewalk counselors and prolife advocates across the nation discovered that their photos, and personal addresses, email and phone numbers had been listed on Voice of Choice’s “Bully List”, Attorney Steven Tiedemann of Westminster, Maryland filed three suits on their behalf in Federal and State Court earlier this month. The suits name Voice of Choice, Inc. (VOC), its founder, Todd Stave, and its current director, Wendy Robinson.
Stave began Voice of Choice as his response to activists who picketed his daughter’s “back-to-school” night, and were protesting because Stave is the landlord for the well-known late-term abortion provider, LeRoy Carhart. In response to those actions and other phone calls from such activists, Stave asked his friends to “fight back” and make calls in a manner that he knew would be unwelcome, annoying and harassing. Soon, thousands of persons from across the globe participated in this calling campaign. Stave then founded VOC to expand the harassment campaign to include the harassment of all prolife advocates.
The filings allege that the clear purpose of VOC is to mount a harassing calling/email campaign against those listed as “Bullies”. The suits allege that VOC, Robinson and Stave encourage and provide instructions for their minions to call and email repeatedly in order to halt first amendment rights of Christians who minister at abortion clinics.
“I was shocked,” said Lisa Metzger, a sidewalk counselor and homeschooling mother. Metzger first learned of her and her husband’s personal information being listed on VOC from a friend who had visited the website. “Why would someone call on others to harass a complete stranger? To list our personal information for the purpose of organizing a strategic verbal attack on our family and our ministry to mothers and babies, without knowing anything about us and how we help these moms who have chosen to save their precious babies, is nothing short of ridiculous. I hope that through the hearings of these cases, our First Amendment rights will be upheld and defended. I also pray that the defendants realize that attempting to silence someone’s First Amendment rights will not silence the voice of their conscience, which speaks the truth of what abortion does to precious little pre-born babies.”
“Each person listed as ‘Bullies’ on VOC’s website engage in what is clearly the exercise of their First Amendment rights and it is violation of Federal Criminal Law for Defendants to conspire to limit those rights,” Tiedemann says. “Unlike abortion protests that seek to stop a commercial transaction, Stave and his followers are conspiring to ‘shut up’ my clients in the exercise of their protected rights, and that, in my opinion, is illegal.” The suits allege that Stave, Robinson, VOC and their followers “oppress, threaten or intimidate” the “Bullies” in their future free-exercise of protected rights, and also punish them for their past protected speech.
The Cases: Westenkirchner et al v. Voice of Choice, Inc. (D. Md. 8:13-cv-03523) seeks a class action protecting privacy of his clients and ceasing the conspiracy to squelch his clients’ constitutional rights. Grooms v. Voice of Choice, Inc. (D. Md. 8:13-cv-03525), seeks to protect the copyright in one of the many photographs used on the Bully List without permission. Andersen v. Voice of Choice, Inc. (Mont. Co. Cir. Ct), advances the claim of a child of an abortion protestor recklessly pictured (when still a minor) on the VOC’s Bully List.
About Steven L. Tiedemann, Esq.: Steven L. Tiedemann is a corporate and construction attorney in private practice. Previously, he served as a corporate general counsel and was an Assistant Attorney General representing the State of Maryland. Since 2001, Steve has represented many litigants in civil rights cases guarding the sanctity of life, traditional values, and Christian religious freedom, including cases concerning prayer, public monuments, traditional marriage and abortion. Steve is an Honor Guard Member affiliated with the Alliance Defending Freedom, a Life Member of the United States Naval Academy Alumni Association; and a Desert Shield/Storm Era service-connected disabled veteran. Steve, his bride, and their seven children live in Westminster, Maryland. To speak with Steve or to arrange interviews with his clients, call his office at (443) 952-7101.
Quoted in a LifeNews article dated Sept 14, 2011, Todd Stave said, “I very much respect the right of the protesters to do so in front of the clinic, or the steps of Capitol Hill, or the courthouse, but in front of a middle school is really not an appropriate place to do anything except protest for better teacher wages or the school budget.” Todd Stave’s profile on Voice of Choice states that “he believes in every American’s fundamental right to his or her own opinions, but loathes bullies, harassers, and antagonists who cross the lines of civility and decency.”.
I tend to believe that Stave’s “loathing” of pro-life advocates has more to do with being well invested in abortion as a business venture than it does his concerns for civility and decency. Todd Stave is the landlord for LeRoy Carhart’s late term abortion mill in Maryland. (Germantown Reproductive Health Services). In contrast, the sidewalk counselors targeted by Voice of Choice are volunteers, made up of mothers, registered nurses, post abortive women, single women, etc. Many of these counselors have directly experienced the pain of abortion and want to offer a “choice” to women other than death and destruction for their babies. They encounter women daily in desperate situations. They offer care and resources so these women do not feel coerced into abortions. Are these the individuals Todd Stave wants to silence? Who are the real “bullies” here?
The battle for our rights as citizens rages on! We need to support all individuals and organizations that are fighting for our freedoms. Please share this blog post and pray for much success for the plaintiffs!
Written by: Donna Mauney
Donna is a homeschooling mother of eight children, five biological and three adopted. She became involved in politics when she started homeschooling, in order to protect her rights as a parent and freedom to homeschool. Since then she has been active in several campaigns on a grassroots level.
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