Iowa will pay anti-abortion protesters’ legal bills

Published: Dec. 2, 2019 at 6:01 PM CST
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The state of Iowa has agreed to pay $130,000 in legal bills for two eastern Iowa anti-abortion rights protesters who successfully challenged a portion of the state’s disorderly conduct law.

Anthony Miano and Nicholas Rolland, both of Davenport, frequently read aloud from the Bible and preach on public sidewalks outside abortion clinics. They sued Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller and Johnson County Attorney Janet Lyness last year after Miano was found in violation of a law making it a simple misdemeanor to create loud and raucous noise near residences or public buildings that cause unreasonable distress to occupants.

On Sept. 26, U.S. District Court Judge Rebecca Goodgame Ebinger found a section of the Iowa Code unconstitutionally vague because it subjects speakers to criminal punishment based on the reactions of third parties.

She ordered the state to pay legal fees for Miano and Rolland.

On Monday, the Iowa Appeal Board approved payment of $127,300 to the Virginia-based American Center for Law & Justice, a Christian-based activist group, and $6,742 to Iowa-based Munro Law Office.