Missoula dismisses charges against anti-abortion advocate

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The city of Missoula dismissed charges last week against an anti-abortion advocate after she was cited for blocking access to Blue Mountain Clinic in March.

Marilyn R. Hatch of Missoula was participating in anti-abortion counseling services outside of Blue Mountain Clinic on March 10 when she was issued a citation by a Missoula police officer for allegedly obstructing access to the health care facility, according to an April 21 letter to the Missoula City Attorney’s Office from the Thomas More Society.

The Thomas More Society is a Chicago law firm representing “prolife sidewalk counselors across the United States.” They are handling Hatch’s case alongside Missoula attorney Quentin Rhoades.

The statute Hatch was cited under, Montana Code 45-8-110, says a person is blocking access if they “knowingly obstruct, hinder, or block another person’s entry into or exit from a health care facility.”

It also says the person is not allowed to knowingly go within 8 feet of someone who is entering or leaving the building to give the person verbal information, display a sign, protest, counsel or educate about a health issue when the party does not consent to the activity and is within 36 feet of an entrance or exit of

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