Justice Department sues pro-life groups, protesters | WORLD
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Justice Department sues pro-life groups, protesters

Pro-life activist Lauren Handy Associated Press/Photo by Manuel Balce Ceneta, file

Justice Department sues pro-life groups, protesters

The U.S. Department of Justice on Monday filed a civil lawsuit in federal court against Red Rose Rescue, Citizens for a Pro-Life Society, and several individuals. The DOJ alleges they blocked entrances to abortion facilities in June 2021. The Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act prohibits individuals from obstructing patients’ access to clinic entrances.

What is the Justice Department alleging? The lawsuit alleges that the defendants tried to stop abortion-related procedures at two different abortion facilities in Ohio—one on June 4 and another on June 5, 2021. Police responded to protests and physically carried some protesters out of the facilities’ waiting rooms and away from their doors, according to the lawsuit. The facility the protesters targeted on June 5 had to cancel its appointments for the day, according to the lawsuit. The Justice Department also alleged that during the June 4 protest, a pro-life protester physically grabbed a patient leaving the facility waiting room to head to another part of the building and told her not to go through with her abortion.

What do the pro-lifers have to say about this? Monica Miller, the director of Citizens for a Pro-Life Society, told WORLD that she and her fellow protesters did not violate the FACE Act. Miller characterized the protesters as completely peaceful. The protesters do not obstruct women’s movements about the clinic as they’re seeking to kill their unborn children, Miller said. They also don’t obstruct the movements of abortion facility staff, she added.

What’s the aim of this lawsuit? The lawsuit seeks monetary penalties and compensation. It also seeks injunctive relief to keep the defendants from blocking abortion facility entrances again. The Justice Department alleges that Red Rose Rescue and Citizens for a Pro-Life Society have persistently staged sit-ins and protests at abortion facilities.

Who are the individuals involved? Lauren Handy, who this month received a nearly five-year sentence for FACE Act violations in Washington, D.C., is one of the individuals mentioned. Jay Smith, who joined her in the D.C. protests, is also a target of Monday’s lawsuit. Smith pleaded guilty in March 2023 to violating the FACE Act in D.C. and received a 10-month sentence and three years of supervised release.

Dig deeper: Read Erin Hawley’s column in WORLD Opinions about Handy’s prison sentence under the FACE Act.

Josh Schumacher

Josh is a breaking news reporter for WORLD. He’s a graduate of World Journalism Institute and Patrick Henry College.

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