WASHINGTON — Nine anti-abortion protesters were indicted Wednesday and accused of invading a reproductive health care clinic here in October, the Justice Department said.
The nine people “forcefully entered the clinic” and set about blocking two doors to the medical facility using their bodies, furniture, chains and ropes, the Justice Department said in a statement.
Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Civil Rights Division and Matthew M. Graves, the U.S. attorney for Washington, D.C., announced a two-count indictment in connection with the incident. The defendants were charged with conspiracy against rights and violating the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances, or FACE, Act.
The defendants are Lauren Handy, 28, of Alexandria, Virginia; Jonathan Darnel, 40, of Arlington, Virginia; Jay Smith, 32, of Freeport, New York; Paulette Harlow, 73, and Jean Marshall, 72, both of Kingston, Massachusetts; John Hinshaw, 67, of Levittown, New York; Heather Idoni, 61, of Linden, Michigan; William Goodman, 52, of the Bronx, New York; and Joan Bell, 74, of Montague, New Jersey.
According to the Justice Department, once the blockade was established, Darnel live-streamed video of his co-defendants’ activities. The indictment also alleges that the defendants violated the FACE Act by using a physical obstruction to injure, intimidate and interfere with the clinic’s employees and a patient "because they were providing or obtaining reproductive health services."
If they are convicted, the defendants each face up to a maximum of 11 years in prison, three years of supervised release and fines up to $350,000.
Arizona joined a growing list of GOP-led states to have enacted aggressive anti-abortion legislation when Gov. Doug Ducey on Wednesday signed a bill to outlaw abortion after about 15 weeks of pregnancy. The measure mirrors a Mississippi law that is being considered by the U.S. Supreme Court.