The Texas-based group 40 Days for Life has brought its aggressive tactics to more than 1,000 cities in 65 countries.
January 9, 2023
There were four or five protesters outside Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow, Scotland, the first time Dr. Greg Irwin saw them. He was driving to his job as a consultant radiologist when he noticed the group hoisting placards opposite the parking lot, close to the maternity unit. BEFORE I FORMED YOU IN THE WOMB I KNEW YOU, one sign read, alongside a Bible reference. “Oh, my God,” Irwin thought. “It’s one of those American protests.”
After he parked in his usual spot, an older woman holding rosary beads smiled as he approached. “We’re holding a prayer vigil,” she explained, adding that they were offering “support and advice” to women. Irwin noticed their placards were branded with the logo of 40 Days for Life. When he googled the name later that night, he expected to find a local church organization. Instead, he discovered the shiny, high-budget website of a Texas-based group, emblazoned with pictures of men in sharp suits with dazzling white teeth. A counter in the corner ticked down the numbers of babies “saved” worldwide. Scrolling, he saw a map festooned with red pins, marking group locations all over the world. Irwin stared at his screen, bewildered. How could there be a connection between a group in Texas and the woman outside his hospital in Scotland?
No arrests after more than 122 attacks on churches, pregnancy centers
BY JULIA DUIN
Attacks on abortion clinics are nothing new in the U.S., but a surge of incidents targeting abortion opponents in the name of a shadowy group called "Jane's Revenge" and others has left anti-abortion groups shaken—and angry with law enforcement agencies.
The increase in such violence began after the leak in May of the U.S. Supreme Court's decision of its intent to overturn the Roe v. Wade ruling that since 1973 had granted a nationwide right to abortion.
Prominent conservatives are claiming the Biden administration launched a "war on pro-lifers" after the Justice Department arrested several protesters for blocking access to abortion clinics.
By Alanna Vagianos
Oct 8, 2022
It’s been a federal crime for nearly 30 years to intimidate or interfere with any person trying to obtain or provide reproductive health care services. But two recent indictments by the Department of Justice for such violations have enraged some influential conservatives, who are now stoking a false narrative about a supposed war against the religious right.
It started with prominent anti-abortion minister Mark Houck, who late last month was arrested on federal charges that he allegedly twice assaulted a 72-year-old patient escort outside of a Planned Parenthood in Philadelphia. If proven, it would be a clear violation of the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act, a 1994 law that makes it a federal crime to use force or the threat of force to injure, intimidate or interfere with any person trying to obtain or provide reproductive health care services.
BY Emily Janakiram & Katie Finnigan, Truthout
April 16, 2022
An anti-abortion group that masquerades as progressive in an attempt to gain a following in liberal cities suddenly surged into mainstream news headlines this spring after the Washington Metro Police Department recovered five fetuses from the apartment of anti-abortion activist Lauren Handy.
Handy is a member of the group “Progressive Anti-Abortion Uprising” (PAAU), which announced its formation in September 2021. The group claims to be “pro-BIPOC” and “pro-LGBTQ,” but in practice, the group’s actions align with a violent, right-wing anti-abortion tradition.
April 5, 2022
By Eleanor J. Bader
“ABORTION IS ABOUT someone’s future, their dreams, their lives,” Lauren Rankin writes in Bodies on the Line: At the Front Lines to Protect Abortion in America (Counterpoint Press). “When abortion is reduced to a mere political fight, we miss this, and we miss the very real stakes when access is denied.”
Those stakes, of course, have been enormous, with access to abortion limited by legal restrictions such as parental consent and notification requirements for minors; mandates that separate counseling from the actual procedure; and by the denial of insurance coverage by Medicaid and other plans. In addition, protests outside clinic doors have been ubiquitous for nearly five decades. In fact, picketers typically accost patients — often screaming at them as they thrust photos of bloody fetal parts in their faces — in an effort to dissuade them from ending their pregnancies. What’s more, anti-abortion violence, including the murder of 11 doctors and escorts since 1993, has had a chilling impact on the number of available providers.
D.C. police say they are still working to determine how the fetuses were obtained and whether any laws were broken
By Michelle Boorstein, Peter Hermann and Marissa J. Lang, Washington Post
April 5, 2022
Antiabortion activists said Tuesday they obtained five fetuses from a medical waste disposal driver who was outside a Washington abortion clinic, an assertion the waste disposal company denies.
Plainclothes officers removed the fetuses from a Southeast apartment where one of the activists was staying. D.C. police are still working to determine how the fetuses were obtained and whether any laws were broken.
The police said they had gone to a home in Washington to investigate a tip about “potential biohazard material” when officers found the fetuses inside. An investigation was continuing.
By Michael Levenson
Published March 31, 2022
The police said on Thursday that five fetuses had been removed from a home in Washington that, according to an anti-abortion group, belonged to an activist who was charged by the Justice Department this week with blocking access to an abortion clinic in October 2020.
The Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia would release only the address where the fetuses were found. Terrisa Bukovinac, the founder and executive director of Progressive Anti-Abortion Uprising, confirmed that the home belonged to Lauren Handy, 28, the group’s director of activism, who was arrested and charged with federal civil rights offenses this week.
Abortion-clinic escorts and defenders serve as human shields protecting patients from angry, aggressive protestors. Now, with emboldened extremists and the COVID crisis, they face more danger than ever before.
By Garnet Henderson
Jun 2, 2021
Shelley, an abortion-clinic defender at Clinics for Abortion and Reproductive Excellence (CARE) in Bellevue, Nebraska, had a bad feeling on the morning of September 25, 2020. One of those gut bad feelings. It had been a volatile summer. Warmer months typically bring more anti-abortion-rights protesters to clinics, and the groups had been even larger than usual in 2020, likely due to high unemployment rates. By September, the crowds had begun to thin back down to the clinic’s 12 to 14 “regulars.” That morning, one of the regulars was camped out in his usual spot at the base of the clinic’s driveway.
by ABBY LAWLOR
In the early morning of Friday, Aug. 27, 12 fanatical anti-abortion extremists in Sterling Heights, Mich., formed an unyielding blockade in front of the Northland Family Planning Center—known for providing access to abortion, pregnancy tests, treatment for miscarriages, and gynecological care, among other reproductive health care services.
There are three Northland Family Planning Centers located across Michigan—and all have been under siege from anti-choice extremists throughout the summer months.
She Wanted An Abortion. Feds Say Her Ex Threatened to Bomb the Clinic.
Court documents show a South Carolina man has been hit with federal charges for interfering with reproductive health care.
by Marie Solis
Oct 7 2019
A South Carolina man named Rodney Allen has been arrested and charged with calling in a fake bomb threat to a Jacksonville, Florida, health clinic in order to prevent a woman he was formerly in a relationship with from obtaining an abortion.
According to a sworn affidavit submitted in federal court last month by FBI Special Agent Robert W. Blythe, these events took place after Allen allegedly sexually assaulted the woman—identified in the affidavit only as A.S.—which resulted in her becoming pregnant. A.S. also alleged that Allen was physically abusive, and had threatened to kill multiple members of her family. The case, USA v Allen, is still in process in a Florida district court. (Blythe did not respond to VICE’s request for comment.)