This last Monday in a Kent courtroom, the Constitution prevailed over a shocking attempt to silence this blog by a prominent local doctor linked to the region's most controversial abortion clinics. This doctor is Chair of the Washington State delegation to the American Medical Association, and in that capacity represents all the doctors in the state.
She is also a colleague and associate of pro-life, Christian doctors, some of whom sit on the board of our local Care-Net pregnancy resource centers.
Her name -- this is the part that she wanted to make a crime -- is Dr. Julie Komarow.
As with many other doctors involved with the local abortion industry, we have written about Dr. Komarow before. We have pointed out that she recently worked at Cedar River Clinics, the most horrific, late-term abortion clinic in the state of Washington.
Cedar River is actually involved in an ongoing medical malpractice lawsuit involving a 26 week old baby, as we will reveal in an upcoming post. Cedar River was also involved in another recent lawsuit because of an abortion they did on an Alaskan minor who was transported from her home state without her parents' knowledge and brought to Cedar River for an abortion. We will soon be exposing the depth of the clinic and staff's involvement with that scandal also.
As if that was not enough, we've also posted the interim results of an ongoing investigation into Cedar River's very questionable financial reporting.
Before working there, according to her resume which was publicly available on the Washington State AMA website until she had them remove it, Dr. Komarow worked at various Planned Parenthoods through much of her medical career that spans almost three decades. Planned Parenthood is the largest abortion provider in Washington, and the US, and has been involved in countless lawsuits, exposed in numerous undercover sting operations for violating rape laws, is currently being investigated for Medicaid fraud, and appears in many women's stories of post-abortion trauma, often involving involuntary abortions.
Dr. Komarow was now seeking a restraining order to prevent this blog from even mentioning her name. She charged us with "harassment" and wanted the court to classify us as "stalkers".
Legally speaking, her complaint was over our mentioning of her name in a list of known local abortion providers in this post, in which we reprinted the shocking and heart-wrenching first-hand testimony of a Seattle woman, recounting watching her baby die after a late-term abortion.
This mother's story, like so many abortion confessions, focused on the details of the abortion from the mother's point of view and what she knew of the suffering of her baby, but omitted any details regarding the identity of the abortion clinic or staff.
We sought to remind our readers that the full story consists of the actual medical staff of an actual clinic (or hospital), including a doctor. And not some disheveled back-alley doctor with three days beard growth, missing teeth, and bad breath who has since snuck away to some mysterious cave, but almost certainly a clean-cut, Mercedes or Porsche-driving, board certified physician with a smile, a medical degree and hospital privileges, possibly even an AMA member, who likely still does this in our region today.
But late one evening just before Christmas, while at our home with our children, decorating the tree and stuffing stockings, we were interrupted by a knock on the door. The non-descript agent of the state, who never identified himself, stuffed an envelope into our hands, and said: "You've been served". Then he snuck away.
In the envelope was a temporary restraining order, and a petition for a full restraining order.
Dr. Komarow not only wanted the courts to forbid us from attempting to contact her, or even her co-workers -- even though we had never made any attempt at physical contact or even co-location with her -- but she also wanted to prohibit us from any "electronic mention of my name in blog/articles/internet".
In other words, Dr. Komarow wanted to strip away our God-given and constitutionally-protected rights to freedom of the press and freedom of speech simply because we're willing to tell the truth about what people like her have decided to do for a living, something which she claims is heroic, no less.
If she were to succeed, any abortionist, or indeed anyone associated with the abortion industry, could shut down any journalist from writing about them and exposing their practices and behavior. That would include blogs like ours, printed publications like World Magazine, or even NPR (though in that case it would make no functional difference).
By law a restraining order petition requires a hearing. That occurred this last Monday. At the hearing, Dr. Komarow represented herself and told the judge, Barbara Mack, that she was terrified because we had identified her by name, and "their readers bombed the Everett clinic", and "their readers" committed other acts of violence.
She also claimed that when a window in her house blew out in a recent windstorm, "my first thought wasn't about the insulation, but instead was whether there was a gunman with a hunting rifle on our deck".
She claimed we had her home phone number, her home address, her husband's name, and "they know where I am at all times". In brief, she sought to characterize us and our journalism as a threat to her life.
We were represented very graciously by Alex Thomason, a private pro bono attorney who believes that "there are fundamental rights in a free society which include but are not limited to the right to free speech, a free press -- even if half of the country finds the speech offensive -- and the sanctity of the lives of unborn children." Mr. Thomason pointed out that the issue at hand was nothing to do with personal safety, and that no evidence had ever been entered to back up Komarow's shocking slur that all pro-lifers were potential violent terrorists, but rather the question on the table was a simple matter of free speech on a subject of profound public significance.
The judge seemed sympathetic to Komarow's overall position, including her basic notion that pro-life journalism was virtually tantamount to incitement to violence, but in the end limited herself to what the law states and the Constitution allows. Komarow's petition was denied.
Neither in her written complaint, nor in the courtroom did Dr. Komarow ever explicitly deny any association with the incident in question. Now we could have contacted Dr. Komarow to ask her if the story we quoted was the sort of abortion procedure she has been involved with in the past, or if she recollected this actual incident, but that would have violated the previous restraining order which she had managed to get against us, thanks to a (different) Constitutionally-illiterate judge.
You see, what our readers don't know is that she has done this sort of thing to us before. And last time she succeeded. Maybe that's because she turned up with two US Marshals dispatched by Attorney General Eric Holder to bully us. Or maybe it was because she made false accusations to the police. We will cover that in our next post in this series.