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Government outlines its Kansas abortion threat case in filing to federal appeals court

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WICHITA, Kansas — The Justice Department has asked a federal appeals court to set oral arguments in the case of a Kansas abortion opponent who sent a letter to a Wichita doctor saying someone might place an explosive under her car.

The government set out the grounds of its appeal Wednesday in filings to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. At issue is whether U.S. District Judge J. Thomas Marten was wrong in concluding Angel Dillard's letter was not a "true threat." Marten summarily ruled last year that Dillard's letter to a Wichita doctor who planned to offer abortion services was constitutionally protected speech.

Dillard claims in a cross-appeal that the government violated her speech and religious rights when it sued her for sending the letter to Dr. Mila Means in 2011.

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