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.
Police found five fetuses inside the home of Lauren Handy, who was indicted for allegedly blockading a clinic.
By Carter Sherman
April 1, 2022
The anti-abortion activist accused of storing fetal remains in her home has spent years tweeting about scouring abortion clinic grounds for fetuses and then burying them.
Lauren Handy, indicted Wednesday for allegedly blockading an abortion clinic, has not hidden her interest in creeping around abortion clinics. In a Twitter thread published in October 2020, Handy said that, by 2016, she was “regularly dumpster diving” at a Maryland abortion clinic to retrieve fetuses for a “proper burial.”
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.
BY Michelle Farber, Truthout
January 5, 2022
It is difficult not to feel an overwhelming sense of defeat and fear for the year ahead in reproductive health and abortion rights as the Supreme Court deliberates on the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health case. Brought against Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which runs the last abortion clinic in Mississippi, this case could reshape abortion law countrywide. Among the many restrictions being challenged, the one abortion advocates are watching the closest is a 15-week ban. If upheld, this 15-week restriction would represent the first pre-viability abortion ban upheld by the Supreme Court. The landmark Roe v. Wade case set the precedent that states could not outlaw abortion prior to the viability line, which currently sits around 23 to 24 weeks of pregnancy. Should the court uphold this ban, dozens of states would be in position to unleash similar, or possibly even more restrictive laws.
The anti-abortion movement has grown increasingly militant in recent years — and increasingly successful. The liberal pushback isn’t cutting it. We need a leftist strategy to defend abortion rights.
BY ANNE RUMBERGER
July 14, 2021
Abortion access has been uneven and inadequate for decades. But with the recent announcement that the Supreme Court will hear a major abortion case next term concerning a Mississippi state law that would ban almost all abortions after fifteen weeks of pregnancy, the threat has reached new levels.
Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization strikes at the heart of the precedent set in Roe v. Wade in 1973 that abortion is permitted until fetus viability, generally at around twenty-four weeks. As it hears the case, the Supreme Court will consider one clearly delineated question: whether or not “all pre-viability prohibitions on elective abortions are unconstitutional.” Mary Ziegler, author of Abortion and the Law in America, said recently that the court taking up the case could result in overturning Roe, but it could also get rid of viability as the point at which states can ban abortion.
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.
For reproductive rights defenders, the mood and some of the faces in the crowd were familiar.
By ALISSA QUART
FEB 04, 2021
Some 30 years ago a man named John Brockhoeft planned two bombings at abortion clinics and women’s health centers in Ohio and Florida. Brockhoeft was sentenced to seven years in prison (he served five) for the firebombing of one clinic; he had already served 26 months for scheming unsuccessfully to bomb another. Brockhoeft called himself a “freedom fighter” and kept a prison newsletter detailing his missions. It was an era when headlines were filled with the number of abortion providers who were either targeted or assassinated.
Three decades after his last clinic bombing, the same Brockhoeft livestreamed his arrival at the Capitol on Jan. 6. He called the moment his fight “for our beloved President Donald J. Trump.”