WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas abortion opponent accused of sending a threatening letter to a Wichita doctor claims in court documents that her message was “divinely inspired” and protected by the freedoms of speech and religion.
Angel Dillard’s latest assertion was included in a flurry of recent defense filings in federal court. The Valley Center woman is being sued by the U.S. Justice Department under a law aimed at protecting access to abortion services.
The government’s lawsuit claims Dillard, of Valley Center, threatened Dr. Mila Means when she wrote her a letter last year saying that thousands of people from across the United States were looking into the doctor’s background.
“They will know your habits and routines. They know where you shop, who your friends are, what you drive, where you live,” the letter said. “You will be checking under your car everyday — because maybe today is the day someone places an explosive under it.”
The lawsuit, filed by the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division under the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act, seeks a court order that keeps Dillard from contacting Means or coming within 250 feet of Means, her home, car or business. It also seeks damages of $5,000 to Means and a civil penalty of $15,000.
Dillard responded with a lawsuit saying the government’s suit violates her freedom of speech and religion. Government lawyers have criticized her arguments and asked the court to dismiss her counterclaim. Her attorney asked the court Friday allow her to amend her lawsuit to address “any pleading defects” and support its allegations.