Anti-Abortion Grandpa Sued for Blocking Clinic

It's 'rewarding work,' says protester Dick Retta
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser User
Posted Apr 5, 2012 1:00 AM CDT
Updated Apr 5, 2012 1:23 AM CDT
Dick Retta (right) considers himself a "sidewalk counselor." Justice Department attorneys say he's breaking the law by blocking women from entering a Planned Parenthood clinic in Washington.   (prolifenews)

(Newser) – The US Justice Department is suing an "aggressive," persistent 80-year-old grandpa for "yelling at" and blocking women from getting abortions during his regular protests at a DC Planned Parenthood clinic, according to court documents. Dick Retta, who boasts he has convinced 400 pregnant women to leave the clinic and others, is being sued under a law making it illegal for anyone to interfere with someone obtaining reproductive health services, reports AP. Federal attorneys are calling for Retta to be fined and ordered to stay 20 feet away from the clinic's gate.

Retta, who considers himself a "sidewalk counselor," and his attorney say he's only persistent and assertive, and that his suggestions to women are protected free speech. Retta says he hasn't blocked anyone from entering the clinic, and only offers advice and anti-abortion flyers—though he admits women sometimes spit on him. Retta gives pregnant woman who turn away from the clinic a free pair of baby booties. "It's very rewarding," he adds.

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