Prosecutors say staff tried to prevent patients from having abortions.
The Justice Department has charged nine anti-abortion protesters with conspiracy to obstruct access to a woman’s reproductive health facility in Washington, D.C. in October 2020, according to a sealed complaint on Wednesday afternoon.
Prosecutors say Lauren Handy, Jonathan Darnell, J. Smith, Paula Harlow, Jean Marshall, John Heinz, Heather Idoni, William Goodman and Joan Bell all attacked the anonymous health center on October 22, 2020 and set up a blockade to prevent patients from receiving it. Did. Abortion and other reproductive health services.
All have been charged with two counts of conspiracy to commit civil rights and obstruction of clinic access. If convicted, each could face up to 11 years in prison. Attorneys for each defendant were not listed in their court docket until Thursday afternoon.
On Wednesday, the Metropolitan Police Department raided a home where Handy, a prominent anti-abortion activist who had previously faced state charges for protesting a similar clinic in Michigan, told WUSA. In Michigan, the allegations were dropped due to lack of evidence.
Police said they were working on a tip that contained bio-hazardous material in the home.
Authorities found five fetuses in the home, the department said. “After further investigation, MPD found five fetuses inside a residence at the location,” the MPD said in a statement. “The embryos were collected by the DC Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.”
Handy told WUSA that he hoped the expedition would “sooner or later.”
According to the complaint, everyone went to DC to take part in the blockade on Handy’s instructions. The team calls themselves Red Rose Rescue; During their demonstrations at the clinic, they usually hand out red roses to the women in the clinic’s waiting room.
According to the complaint, Handy called the clinic a few days before their protest, telling them that he had a woman named Hazel Jenkins who needed care and made an appointment for the morning of October 22, according to the complaint.
While at the DC Clinic, prosecutors said protesters blocked two doors using their bodies, furniture, chains and ropes while broadcasting their activities live on Facebook.
Darnell started the livestream by saying, “We have people physically interfering with their bodies so that women can’t enter the clinic to kill their children,” the complaint said.