Five anti-abortion activists who were charged with illegally blocking access to a Washington D.C. abortion clinic back in 2020 have been convicted, WUSA reported.
Activists Lauren Handy, Heather Idoni, William Goodman, John Hinshaw and Herb Geraghty were found guilty of two felony counts each of conspiracy against rights and violating the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act.
On the day of the blockade, Handy and long-time anti-abortion activist Joan Bell – who will go to trial with a second group of defendants next month – waited outside the clinic door while other activists, including her co-defendants Herb Geraghty and William Goodman, hid in an emergency stairwell with a bag of locks and chains. Handy had made an appointment under the false name “Hazel Jenkins.” When a clinic employee opened the door, the activists rushed out of the stairwell and forced their way into the clinic in a chaotic struggle that sent a clinic employee to the hospital with an ankle injury. Surveillance video appears to show Handy giving directions to other activists, who then moved chairs in front of the door leading from the waiting room to the clinic. Two members of the group – Bell and Paulette Harlow – pulled chains out of a bag and affixed them to bike locks they had placed around their necks. They then sat in chairs in front of the door to form a physical blockade with other activists, including one of the defendants on trial, John Hinshaw. Others went back into the hallway, where some stood in front of the clinic’s employee entrance and others attempted to persuade clinic patients waiting for their appointments to leave.
The defendants face up to 11 years in prison and a fine of up to $350,000.
According to The Washington Post, prosecutors played videos showing the defendants singing songs, praying and yelling, “They are killing babies in there.” Another video showed them yelling at a 27-year-old woman who was trying to access the clinic, asking her how she could “kill [her] baby” and saying that she was “going to hell.”
From The Post:
…the same day a federal indictment was announced against the defendants, D.C. police discovered five fetuses in a Capitol Hill rowhouse basement where Handy had been staying.
Read the full report over at WUSA.
Image: Lauren Handy/YouTube