Man arrested for threatening protesters outside North Fort Myers abortion clinic

Saturday, May 29, 1999

[MTTU Note: this another example of pro-abortion violence. The events described in this article are common outside abortion mills. Such is the commitment to death our pro”Choice” friends have.]

A 45-year-old man was arrested Friday after deputies say he threatened and manhandled two protesters outside of a North Fort Myers abortion clinic.

It was the second time in two weeks deputies have responded to fighting at the Southwest Florida Women’s Clinic, deputies said.

Philip Allan Heim, who lives near the clinic at 3973 North Side Circle, was charged with felony battery on a person over age 65, battery, and aggravated assault, sheriff’s reports said.

The protesters, John Doherty 63, and Lawrence Atkinson, 66, of Fort Myers, were uninjured but shaken after Heim drove his 1994 Ford Probe onto the grass where they were sitting at 9:30 a.m., abruptly stopped and then drove forward slowly, knocking Doherty from a lawn chair onto the ground, according to reports.

Heim then got out of his car, shouted at the men and grabbed them by the shirts, said Doherty, who said he and Atkinson were “quietly praying to ourselves,” in protest in front of the clinic as they do three days each week.

The protesters were across the street from the clinic, as required by a sheriff’s no-trespassing order, sheriff’s spokesman Larry King said.

“He comes at us like a raging madman and throws the chairs at us. I was scared,” Doherty said. “I saw the guy’s face, he was glaring angry, he was screaming ‘Get out of my …. neighborhood.'”

Dr. Ali Azima, who runs the clinic, said there’s more to the story.

Azima, who said he has never met Heim, said Doherty and Atkinson continually taunt him and verbally harass his patients. He said on numerous occasions he has called authorities to do something about protests, but that the Sheriff’s Office has not done all it can to protect his business.

“The protesters approach patients sometimes and don’t let them get into their cars,” Azima said. “They (Sheriff’s Office) have not been cooperating, they don’t do anything. These people are breaking the law.”

King said the Sheriff’s Office has been forced to act as referee twice in the last two weeks at the clinic, protecting both the rights of the protesters and Azima. King said he did not see the violence as part of a pattern.

Two weeks ago Doherty and Azima got into a fight in front of the clinic and both were arrested. Each has pressed battery charges against the other, King said.

Doherty said the protests will continue.

“There’s no doubt we’re keeping it up, but from now on I’ll call the sheriff’s department to let them, know we’ll be there,” he said. “John McDougall is supportive of the pro-life position and he doesn’t like babies being murdered, as I don’t.”

McDougall has made no secret of his anti-abortion feelings. In December 1997, he responded to a letter from Azima asking for more law enforcement protection for his clinic with a letter of his own in which he called Azima a “baby killer.”

Doherty claimed no allegiance to any group other than the Catholic church, “I’m a Roman Catholic, there’s 400 million of us,” he said.

Azima said he will continue to perform abortions.

“Nobody should be infringing their religious beliefs on another person,” Azima said. “That is why we have religious freedom.”