NEW YORK — The attorney general of New York has filed a lawsuit against 14 pro-life individuals that he claims have been “harassing” abortion-minded mothers outside of abortion facilities.
“The law guarantees women the right to control their own bodies and access the reproductive health care they need, without obstruction,” Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said in a statement. “We’ll do what it takes to protect those rights for women across New York.”
The pro-lifers are reportedly members of various churches and Christian ministries, such as Church on the Rock, Helpers of God’s Precious Infants, Bright Dawn Ministries and Grace Baptist Church. Schneiderman states that every Saturday for the past five years, the pro-lifers have gathered outside of the Choices Women’s Medical Center in Jamaica and hold photographs of aborted babies.
Some, he claims, approach vehicles when they arrive and lean into the window to offer literature, or follow patients closely on their way into the building, at times handing a pamphlet to the accompanying child and asking him or her to “give this to your mommy to read.”
Schneiderman asserts that sometimes there is physical contact or crowding in order to get the person’s attention to hand them the information.
He further contends that the pro-lifers are “disseminating false information concerning the safety risks of an abortion in an effort to deter patients from going through with the procedure” and are “intentionally propagating false information about the connection between suicide and abortion in order to impede women from accessing such care.”
One of the pamphlets Schneiderman specifically notes, and claims to be deceptive, reads, “We know you are probably upset and confused. To save the life of your baby, the laminaria (seaweed sticks) can still be removed. Please don’t do anything now that will hurt your child because you will later regret it.”
He also takes issue with the verbal speech of the pro-lifers, who he says call out “vitriolic” statements such as, “Don’t go in there; they will convince you to kill your baby—that’s how they make money,” “You have the blood of dead babies on your hands” and “They are killing babies above your heads.”
“Defendant Randall Doe, while raising an enlarged image of a purportedly aborted fetus, harasses patients and closely follows them within nine feet of the clinic door, telling them that they will regret killing their child for the rest of their lives,” the lawsuit states.
“Defendants Ronald George, Randall Doe, Anne Kaminsky, Angela Braxton, and Jasmine LaLande loudly and falsely inform patients entering the clinic, on a regular basis, that there are higher rates of suicide, breast and ovarian cancer, and schizophrenia among individuals who have had abortions, in order to impede them from obtaining such care,” it reads.
The legal challenge additionally states that because the pro-lifers film their time on the sidewalk, some mothers fear that their identities might be made public.
“Many are concerned that the defendants will post information about their visits on social media networks and that their relatives or colleagues will learn that they had an abortion,” it states. “A patient’s fear of having her abortion publicized was triggered when Defendant Patricia Musco recognized her and yelled her name.”
“The tactics used to harass and menace Choices’ patients, families, volunteers, and staff are not only horrifying—they’re illegal,” Schneiderman said in a statement. “The law guarantees women the right to control their own bodies and access the reproductive health care they need, without obstruction. We’ll do what it takes to protect those rights for women across New York.”
He is seeking a declaration that the pro-lifers are in violation of state and city clinic access laws, and desires for the court to issue an order creating a 16-foot buffer zone around the abortion facility.
As previously reported, in an introductory lecture to his course on obstetrics in 1854, Philadelphia doctor Hugh Lennox Hodge explained that if a woman were to come to a medical doctor in pursuit of an abortion, “he must, as it were, grasp the conscience of his weak and erring patient and let her know in language not to be misunderstood that she is responsible to her Creator for the life of the being within her.”
“The procuring abortion is ‘a base and unmanly act,’” Hodge also said, quoting in part text from a court ruling of his day. “It is a crime against the natural feelings of man, against the welfare and safety of females, against the peace and prosperity of society, against the divine command ‘Thou shalt not kill.’ It is murder.”