Obama DOJ takes elderly pro-life sidewalk counselor to court

posted at 4:40 pm on July 21, 2011 by Tina Korbe

Those who know Dick Retta describe him as a peaceful, prayerful man, who regards his sidewalk counseling outside the Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington as a ministry. Retta even conducts weekend training sessions to encourage other pro-life advocates to stand outside the facility to offer words of hope, encouragement and possibility to the young women who come and go from the abortion center. At these training sessions, one attendee says, he specifically emphasizes that the point of sidewalk counseling is not to block access, but, instead, to remind pregnant women that they do, in fact, have a choice other than abortion — and to offer post-abortion healing, as well, as few abortion centers prepare women for all of the possible emotional consequences of their decision.

But perhaps nothing attests to Retta’s warm and compassionate nature so much as the influence he has been able to have on the women he counsels as he walks side-by-side with them. Some estimate that, over the past 14 years or so, Retta’s words have resulted in more than 1,000 “saves,” what members of the pro-life movement call the change of heart that leads a pregnant mother to choose to have her child.

Retta also patiently endures the antipathy of those who aren’t receptive to his message. Just last week, by one account, a woman entering the clinic pepper-sprayed Retta. Yet, Retta persists in his work because he’s seen what a positive difference it makes.

In a short video, Peter Shinn of Pro-Life Unity documented one of Retta’s days, in which six women decided not to abort because of the information and assistance he was able to provide.

“They go in and they’re kind of sullen in what they’re doing, and I’m sure there’s a lot of sorrow there,” Retta says in the video. “But when they change their mind, they’re smiling, they’re happy about it and they’re willing to talk to us.”

Yet, this man, the Department of Justice describes as “among the most vocal and aggressive anti-abortion protesters outside the Clinic.” In fact, the Civil Rights Division of the DOJ has brought a lawsuit against Retta, alleging that he has repeatedly violated the Freedom of Access to Clinic Act, obstructing entrance to the clinic on at least one occasion. The complaint objects to Retta “walk[ing] very closely beside patients” and says he yells at them.

Retta was not available for comment when I contacted him by phone, but he reportedly was shocked at the allegations.

When LifeSiteNews.com contacted Retta for comment today, the shocked veteran pro-life activist said that he was unaware that the lawsuit had been filed against him, and that he had not been informed by the Department of Justice. He is seeking legal counsel before making a public statement. …

The Department of Justice is demanding that Retta be fined $10,000, that a permanent 20 foot bubble zone be placed around the clinic barring pro-lifers, and that Retta pay an additional fine of $15,000 in equal parts to the three ‘victims’ of his actions, which the DOJ argues were contrary to the Freedom of Access to Clinic Act (FACE).

A Department of Justice that can’t find time to defend the Defense of Marriage Act somehow has time to bring a lawsuit against a 70+ year-old man who simply seeks to pass out flyers and speak a few kind words to women in need of them? It’s hard to think this has nothing to do with the hundreds of thousands of dollars Retta has cost Planned Parenthood.

Thomas E. Perez, assistant attorney general for the Civil Rights Division, describes the DOJ’s justification for the suit this way: “Individuals who seek to obtain or provide reproductive health services have the right to do so without encountering hazardous physical obstructions. We will continue to aggressively enforce FACE against those who seek to violate the rights of their fellow Americans to safely provide or obtain such services.”

Retta is a “hazardous” physical obstruction? The best the complaint could offer is that, once, he accidentally stepped on a patient’s shoe and broke a shoe strap.

Perez just happens to be the same Perez who testified before the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights about the DOJ’s decision to completely drop charges against the New Black Panthers who engaged in voter intimidation a couple years ago. Perhaps not prosecuting important cases like that one is what frees the DOJ up to pursue cases like this one.

How beautiful would it be if the many women Retta has helped would step forward to help him now?


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If he had only carried a night stick Holder might of given him a pass. Oops! It appears that this fellow is not one of Holder’s people.

Mason on July 21, 2011 at 4:45 PM

How beautiful would it be if the many women Retta has helped would step forward to help him now?

A group photo of the 1000 children born who would otherwise have been labeled “medical waste” if it wasn’t for his efforts would be awesome.

DrAllecon on July 21, 2011 at 4:47 PM

Individuals who seek to obtain or provide reproductive health services have the right to do so without encountering hazardous physical obstructions.

Isn’t that statement ironic? Individuals on their way to an encouter with a hazardous physical procedure happen along a senior citizen that the DOJ characterizes as a “hazardous physical obstruction?”

Orwellian

ted c on July 21, 2011 at 4:47 PM

And the actions of those Black Panthers outside the polling place in Philadelphia were so much more civilized.

Obama and his crowd would criminalize all things conservative.

The Rock on July 21, 2011 at 4:48 PM

The complaint objects to Retta “walk[ing] very closely beside patients” and says he yells at them.

From my observation of sidewalk counselors, my guess is that he is calling out to them, not yelling at them.

I’m sure the PP folks don’t like it one bit that he helps women change their minds.

Missy on July 21, 2011 at 4:49 PM

I hope one of the first actions the new GOP president takes in 2013 is to call Perez and say,

“You’re fired. Leave the premises. Your personal items will be forwarded to you.”

Wethal on July 21, 2011 at 4:49 PM

My posts are being blocked.

OH well.

Key West Reader on July 21, 2011 at 4:51 PM

Perez just happens to be the same Perez who testified before the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights about the DOJ’s decision to completely drop charges against the New Black Panthers who engaged in voter intimidation a couple years ago.

well, there it is you see. Those NBPP were engaged in ‘helpfulness’ and mr. retta is an ‘obstruction.’

everything is backwards, this is obamaville.

ted c on July 21, 2011 at 4:51 PM

Eric Holder is a worthless SOB, in fact worse than little Bammie though in a less powerful position.

The Republican nominee in 2012 should run on a promise to run the A-G office in a manner that offers equal justice to all Americans.

slickwillie2001 on July 21, 2011 at 4:53 PM

Fine, block my posts.

Google or Bing KERMIT GOSNELL

Key West Reader on July 21, 2011 at 4:53 PM

If he had a weapon with a receipt from a strawman seller in the Fast and Furious program, he would never appear on the DOJ’s radar.

BuckeyeSam on July 21, 2011 at 4:53 PM

The DOJ is a thug organization under a thug running it.

The blatant political and racist nature is a wake up call to anyone who perceives “entitlements” as fair.

Odie1941 on July 21, 2011 at 4:53 PM

What he needs to do is to get two black panthers out there with nightsticks intimidating the girls in a threatening manner and everything will be fine.

rjoco1 on July 21, 2011 at 4:57 PM

Fine, block my posts.

Key West Reader on July 21, 2011 at 4:53 PM

try posting in an old dead thread to confirm what you typed/linked will post

RushBaby on July 21, 2011 at 4:57 PM

He looks racist

seven on July 21, 2011 at 4:58 PM

Abortions, guns for drug gangs – Holder’s all about the killing.

DamnCat on July 21, 2011 at 4:58 PM

Woe to you who call good evil, and evil good.

AnotherOpinion on July 21, 2011 at 4:59 PM

Thank you President Obama AG Holder.

crr6 on May 1, 2011 at 10:45 PM

Del Dolemonte on July 21, 2011 at 4:59 PM

Wethal on July 21, 2011 at 4:49 PM

I’d prefer: “You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law…..”

CurtZHP on July 21, 2011 at 4:59 PM

Maybe bagboy Holder is trolling for bribe money, in exchange for a future promised pardon?

MNHawk on July 21, 2011 at 4:59 PM

Retta is a “hazardous” physical obstruction?

The DOJ made it sound like women had to storm Normandy beach to get in the building. Good grief, the selective prosecution of this administration based on ideology could not be more transparent, or shameful.

Meric1837 on July 21, 2011 at 5:00 PM

Del Dolemonte on July 21, 2011 at 4:59 PM

heh. you know how to turn the screws on them don’t you.

ted c on July 21, 2011 at 5:00 PM

Sidewalk counselors ate regularly spat st, cussed out, hit, run over, and otherwise harassed as they stand as the last line of defense for innocent children. Our DOJ should be ashamed of themselves, but the have no shame.

Vera on July 21, 2011 at 5:01 PM

Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division describes the DOJ’s justification for the suit this way: “Individuals who seek to obtain or provide reproductive health services have the right to do so without encountering hazardous physical obstructions. We will continue to aggressively enforce FACE against those who seek to violate the rights of their fellow Americans to safely provide or obtain such services.”

Translation: The right of a female seeking to murder an unborn are more important than your constitutionally spelled out right to speech and assembly.

Leftists. A cult of death.

RushBaby on July 21, 2011 at 5:02 PM

” ate ” should be “are”. Damn you autocorrect!

Vera on July 21, 2011 at 5:03 PM

The DOJ is just another Obama administrative agency filled with agenda-driven goons.

GaltBlvnAtty on July 21, 2011 at 5:04 PM

So Roe v Wade, a bastardization of Griswold v Conn trumps the 1st Amendment…

Gotcha.

Odie1941 on July 21, 2011 at 5:04 PM

Black Panthers with billy clubs = Poll watchers

70-year-old man with glasses = PUBLIC MENACE

Jim Treacher on July 21, 2011 at 5:06 PM

Evil bastards.

Darth Executor on July 21, 2011 at 5:07 PM

The Obama Error

faraway on July 21, 2011 at 5:07 PM

The DOJ made it sound like women had to storm Normandy beach to get in the building. Good grief, the selective prosecution of this administration based on ideology could not be more transparent, or shameful.

Meric1837 on July 21, 2011 at 5:00 PM

If only getting into an abortion clinic was as hard as storming the beach at Normandy, there would be 50 million more smiling faces in America today.

Tommy_G on July 21, 2011 at 5:08 PM

Evil bastards.

Darth Executor on July 21, 2011 at 5:07 PM

I was going to say vile bastards but evil sums it up better.

darwin on July 21, 2011 at 5:08 PM

Black Panthers with billy clubs = Poll watchers

70-year-old man with glasses = PUBLIC MENACE

Jim Treacher on July 21, 2011 at 5:06 PM

Should be 70 year old WHITE man, according to the DHS.

txhsmom on July 21, 2011 at 5:11 PM

If only getting into an abortion clinic was as hard as storming the beach at Normandy, there would be 50 million more smiling faces in America today.

Tommy_G on July 21, 2011 at 5:08 PM

That post made me tear up

it’s so true

aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaach dang it

RushBaby on July 21, 2011 at 5:11 PM

I feel really safe now that DOJ is going after this old man /sarcasm.

tetriskid on July 21, 2011 at 5:12 PM

Hey Jazz, Ed, Tina?

House is going to compromise of the Debt Ceiling?

Thanks Boehner….

upinak on July 21, 2011 at 5:12 PM

yes, people have no right to go to the doctor and have a legal medical procedure without nutbags yelling at them and taunting them if not out right shooting them and their doctor… and you wonder why half of America thinks the Right is Nuckin Futs… but these same people will bitch and moan when the Reverend Crazy Pants protests American Soldier’s Funerals? please try the whole consistency thing… please…

Kaptain Amerika on July 21, 2011 at 5:16 PM

The Obama-Holder DOJ is the most corrupt and politicized since the Nixon era. Holder has staffed all the higher offices with political tools who are just as corrupt as he is. Perez for example is a racist, a liar and a perjurer. Many of us predicted that this debasement of a crucial department was inevitable if Holder was confirmed, because he has along track record of corruption and political exploitation in the DOJ going back to the Clinton-Reno days.

How many Republicans senators nevertheless voted to confirm this despicable, incompetent and corrupt scumbag?

I know Dick Lugar did.

novaculus on July 21, 2011 at 5:16 PM

The Obama Error

faraway on July 21, 2011 at 5:07 PM

The Obama Terror

pseudonominus on July 21, 2011 at 5:18 PM

Good grief, the selective prosecution of this administration based on ideology could not be more transparent, or shameful.

Meric1837 on July 21, 2011 at 5:00 PM

That says it all: DoJ’s “selective prosecution…based on ideology.”

Reading an article about Colonel Allen West and the Wasserman-Schulz smear of him, down buried in the lower paragraphs of the article was the news that “Emily’s List” (major promoter for abortions) was among those calling on West to apologize or otherwise acknowledge his “war on women”.

The legposts holding up the DNC table are issues by which one is greatly harmed if one disagrees or opposes, among them being if you’re pro-life and try to do so much as state that (expect the whirlwind if you do — most of us who are do despite this).

Lourdes on July 21, 2011 at 5:19 PM

Black Panthers with billy clubs = Poll watchers

70-year-old man with glasses = PUBLIC MENACE

Jim Treacher on July 21, 2011 at 5:06 PM

Should be 70 year old WHITE man, according to the DHS.

txhsmom on July 21, 2011 at 5:11 PM

Dear old guy is white, he’s elderly, he’s Christian, he’s ethical, he’s pro-life and he’s engaged in acts of charity. Everything the Obama/Holder doom oppose. Also, Thomas E. Perez has a bad history of ethnic and racial prejudice.

Lourdes on July 21, 2011 at 5:22 PM

“We will continue to aggressively enforce FACE against those who seek to violate the rights of their fellow Americans to safely provide or obtain such services.”

Voting…

… not so much.

Seven Percent Solution on July 21, 2011 at 5:23 PM

Maybe Retta should’ve dressed up like a Black Panther and carried a nightstick.

JellyToast on July 21, 2011 at 5:23 PM

Black Panthers with billy clubs = Poll watchers

70-year-old man with glasses = PUBLIC MENACE

Jim Treacher on July 21, 2011 at 5:06 PM

Oops, you beat me to that. Oh well.

JellyToast on July 21, 2011 at 5:25 PM

Retta, just go in with dreads, black face and a nightstick.
Then you may qualify as one of Holder’s people.

carbon_footprint on July 21, 2011 at 5:25 PM

If all the babies that were aborted , and face all those who supported their abortions could come forward. But like now…they’ve been silenced. No wonder Dems find it attractive to silence those who still have a voice.

Does silencing eliviate the guilt, and shame for what you do? Nope! One day, you will have your day to face God, and try to justify it to Him. Since you love justification so much.

capejasmine on July 21, 2011 at 5:26 PM

“We will continue to aggressively enforce FACE against those who seek to violate the rights of their fellow Americans to safely provide or obtain such services.”

I anticipate, if not already occurring, that simply expressing a pro-life position and explaining that to others online will become in Holder’s view “seek(ing) to violate the rights of their fellow Americans to safely provide or obtain such services.”

That threat has as much already been levied at pro-lifers numerous times online, anywhere and on any site where pro-lifers express their views. Twitter is fraught with paid tweeters for the likes of Planned Parenthood and they are exceptionally crude, nasty and hateful toward anyone who is pro-life.

Lourdes on July 21, 2011 at 5:30 PM

I despise everything about this administration. This is another prime example of why.

sadatoni on July 21, 2011 at 5:31 PM

What scumbags they are in our gangster government. They pretend they want abortion to be safe, legal, and rare but the world will fall on you if you try to make it rare.

joeindc44 on July 21, 2011 at 5:32 PM

Holder is one of the most disgusting pieces of human filth I’ve seen in a long time. Taking smelly dumps has now been renamed to taking an Eric Holder.

SirGawain on July 21, 2011 at 5:33 PM

Yep. Mr. Retta is the wrong colour for this Justice Department, that’s for sure.

Pilgrimsarbour on July 21, 2011 at 5:36 PM

Hmmm...interesting.

Lourdes on July 21, 2011 at 5:38 PM

The DOJ made it sound like women had to storm Normandy beach to get in the building. Good grief, the selective prosecution of this administration based on ideology could not be more transparent, or shameful.

Meric1837 on July 21, 2011 at 5:00 PM

Monty Python could not be reached for comment

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vMqSmiC_xHg

Del Dolemonte on July 21, 2011 at 5:41 PM

The Obama Error

faraway on July 21, 2011 at 5:07 PM

Yup, that’s a keeper.

Chip on July 21, 2011 at 5:43 PM

The “Department of Justice” has become a farce.

No one is laughing, unless it’s the smirking liar in the WH.

hillbillyjim on July 21, 2011 at 5:46 PM

everything is backwards, this is obamaville.

ted c on July 21, 2011 at 4:51 PM

Evil is good. Good is evil. Wrong is right and right is wrong.

Guess this is what “transforming America” is all about.

infidel4life on July 21, 2011 at 5:48 PM

Evil is good. Good is evil. Wrong is right and right is wrong.

Guess this is what “transforming America” is all about.

infidel4life on July 21, 2011 at 5:48 PM

…which begs the question:

Who’s gonna play Optimus Prime in 2012.

hillbillyjim on July 21, 2011 at 5:53 PM

Black Panthers with billy clubs = Poll watchers

70-year-old man with glasses = PUBLIC MENACE

Jim Treacher on July 21, 2011 at 5:06 PM

Oops, you beat me to that. Oh well.

JellyToast on July 21, 2011 at 5:25 PM

Welcome to the DOJ’s bizarro world.

In the words of Art Fern:

Want to stand around outside a polling place in paramilitary garb and carry a nightstick – we don’t care!

Want to smuggle guns to criminals to boost violence figures to bring on calls for more gun control’ under the radar’ – we don’t care!

Want to counsel on a sidewalk outside Planned Parenthood – THAT’S WHEN WE CARE!

Chip on July 21, 2011 at 5:54 PM

Oops. I owe somebody a question mark. Here ya go: “?

hillbillyjim on July 21, 2011 at 5:54 PM

Does silencing eliviate the guilt, and shame for what you do? Nope! One day, you will have your day to face God, and try to justify it to Him. Since you love justification so much.

capejasmine on July 21, 2011 at 5:26 PM

Indeed.

+1000

GrannyDee on July 21, 2011 at 5:57 PM

This administration isn’t concerned with the law. They justify anything they please with whatever suits them…. …with no morals, no conscience, no sense of fair play — NO JUSTICE TO BE HAD AT THE DOJ.

Obamanation.

hillbillyjim on July 21, 2011 at 5:58 PM

Oops! It appears that this fellow is not one of Holder’s people.
Mason on July 21, 2011 at 4:45 PM

Nice, first comment showcases right wingdingdingadong homophobia.

Bishop on July 21, 2011 at 6:00 PM

Hey Jazz, Ed, Tina?

House is going to compromise of the Debt Ceiling?

Thanks Boehner….

upinak on July 21, 2011 at 5:12 PM

upinak, that was on Yahoo news being posted from AP. BOTH being very liberal sites. I would wait and see what happens before busting Boehners’ arse….. just sayin

sicoit on July 21, 2011 at 6:00 PM

The Obama Error

faraway on July 21, 2011 at 5:07 PM

Yup, that’s a keeper.

Chip on July 21, 2011 at 5:43 PM

That sounds like a Robert Ludlum title.

Excellent description, BTW.

hillbillyjim on July 21, 2011 at 6:00 PM

Retta’s words have resulted in more than 1,000 “saves,”

Therein lies the problem.

I thought it was about keeping abortions rare. I think not.

Lourdes thanks for the link about Mexico. I like seeing that.

CW on July 21, 2011 at 6:06 PM

Question just in case one of the lovers of deaths pops in. As Michelle Bachmann has taken many unwanted kids into her home can she without your insane rants make her argument about how abortion is wrong? I am sure you will still try to find ways to shut her up on the subject.

CW on July 21, 2011 at 6:08 PM

CW on July 21, 2011 at 6:08 PM

Yup! They will find a way. Just like they think changing the words of what it is, will make it more palpable to swallow. Health services? It is what it is folks. Abortion. Murder of the unborn.!

My kids and I were discussing abortion the other day, and it came to me. All these liberals, that profess abortion is neither a sin, or crime. So how many of these hollywood starlets that becomes pregnant, considers it just a clump of cells after a doctor says…you’re pregnant? It’s a baby if you want to keep it. If you want to kill it, it’s merely a clump of cells.

capejasmine on July 21, 2011 at 6:22 PM

Retta should have been in a BLACK uniform and carrying a police baton, yelling obscenities and challenges.

Holder would have be okay with that.

GarandFan on July 21, 2011 at 6:28 PM

If only getting into an abortion clinic was as hard as storming the beach at Normandy, there would be 50 million more smiling faces in America today.

Tommy_G on July 21, 2011 at 5:08 PM

Yeah, but most of them would have been black, and the Progressives can’t have that.

slickwillie2001 on July 21, 2011 at 6:39 PM

May God bless Dick Retta.

BigAlSouth on July 21, 2011 at 7:01 PM

Well, one thing we know for sure is that Mr. Retta is White or the Justice Department would NEVER bring a suit against a Black man even if he had been out there with a ball bat scaring them away. Oh, but they only do that at polling places in predominantly Conservative areas. This Justice Department is so full of Sh” it isn’t funny. I hope the gentleman will have the backing of the pro-life people so they can defend him and take it to the Supreme Court. Then File a lawsuit against the Justice Department for denying him his Constitutional Right to Free Speech. This is an attempt to scare all of the Pro-Life people away from the abortions clinics..

old war horse on July 21, 2011 at 7:03 PM

Nice, first comment showcases right wingdingdingadong homophobia.

Bishop on July 21, 2011 at 6:00 PM

Yeah, everyone knows how racist it is to pay attention to what a black man says.

malclave on July 21, 2011 at 7:16 PM

Individuals who seek to obtain or provide reproductive health services have the right to do so without encountering hazardous physical obstructions.

Well, let’s see the tape, Tom…

Mr. Retta should have joined the Black Panthers and stood outside the clinic with a club.

Dr. ZhivBlago on July 21, 2011 at 7:38 PM

May God bless Dick Retta.

BigAlSouth on July 21, 2011 at 7:01 PM

Amen.

Blessed are they that suffer persecution for justice’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

pannw on July 21, 2011 at 10:59 PM

How beautiful would it be if the many women Retta has helped would step forward to help him now?

I’m thinking they won’t because the idea that he “helped” so many women is transparent nonsense. Women rarely change their mind at the point of going in an abortion clinic. I could believe that he got five women to change their minds. I don’t believe that people so gullible as to believe the thousand figure have any business telling us about morality. Morality needs to be informed by the facts of this world and not fantasies.

thuja on July 21, 2011 at 11:19 PM

Retta is a “hazardous” physical obstruction?

No.

He is simply a man nearing the end of life attempting to prevent the death of those at the very beginning of life.

Abortion views that as a loss of revenue.

How beautiful would it be if the many women Retta has helped would step forward to help him now?

It would be even more beautiful if just one individual Retta saved would step forward to help him.

rukiddingme on July 22, 2011 at 12:51 AM

Mark 10:14 Suffer the little children to come unto me and forbid them not, for of such is the kingdom of God.

The abortion industry is surely seeing to it that children suffer and come unto the Lord. Planned Parenthood and their ilk will receive their eternal reward, just not the one they’re hoping for.

SKYFOX on July 22, 2011 at 6:50 AM

I have a new hero!

God has a very special place for courageous people like Dick Retta.

NavyMustang on July 22, 2011 at 7:29 AM

I’m thinking they won’t because the idea that he “helped” so many women is transparent nonsense. Women rarely change their mind at the point of going in an abortion clinic. I could believe that he got five women to change their minds. I don’t believe that people so gullible as to believe the thousand figure have any business telling us about morality. Morality needs to be informed by the facts of this world and not fantasies.

thuja on July 21, 2011 at 11:19 PM

You could not be more wrong. And if you had ever spent just five minutes working with the vulnerable women in crisis pregnancies who are looking for help, you would realize that you just posted five sentences of blithering idiocy.

CDeb on July 22, 2011 at 7:35 AM

Oh brother. A lone geezer is an ‘obstruction’? Come back when there’s an entire crowd of protesters waving gory signs; that’s an obstruction! And if someone is deterred from a decision that serious so easily…that’s rather sad.

Uncle Sams Nephew on July 22, 2011 at 10:13 AM