LOUISVILLE, Ky. (CN) – A federal judge on Friday granted a temporary restraining order against several anti-abortion protesters who blocked the entrance to a Kentucky women’s health clinic in May and reportedly planned to do so again next week.
The United States sued 10 individuals on Tuesday in Louisville federal court alleging violations of the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances, or FACE, Act.
U.S. District Judge David Hale promptly granted the government’s motion for a temporary restraining order on Friday.
According to the government’s lawsuit, the 10 defendants and one minor blocked the only public entrance to the EMW Women’s Surgical Center in Louisville on May 13.
“The group of eleven individuals entered EMW’s property, sat down with their backs against EMW’s doors, and refused to move from the entrance,” the complaint states.
All of the protesters refused to leave, even after being asked by police officers, who then arrested them for trespassing.
Rev. Rusty Thomas, one of the defendants, is the leader of a group called Operation Save America, or OSA, whose website asks people to join in its “mission to see repentance and restoration in America.”
In Friday’s order, Judge Hale cites evidence presented by the government claiming Thomas and OSA plan to hold more protests at EMW, specifically during the week of July 22 through 29.
The restraining order granted by the judge prevents Thomas and the other defendants from “using physical obstruction to intentionally interfere with any person … because the person was or had been obtaining or providing reproductive health services at EMW,” and also establishes a buffer zone outside of the clinic.
Hale said the temporary restraining order will be posted outside the clinic and the judge granted the U.S. Marshals Service authority to enforce the terms of the TRO by “reasonable means” and arrest individuals who violate its terms.