Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Attorney General Takes Action to End Abortion Clinic Harassment

AG Schneiderman announces he's filing suit to protect
women from abuse and intimidation outside of Choices.
The following was submitted by the Office of Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.
The year after I graduated high school, I went to work in an abortion clinic. It was the year before Roe v. Wade, and abortion was still outlawed in states throughout the country. Many women still had to travel far from home for safe, legal reproductive health care.
I used to drive our patients from the airport to the clinic and back again. I still remember the fear in the eyes of many women as they tried to leave the recovery room too early because they wanted to get home as quickly as possible. Their parents or husbands or bosses had no idea they were there. Abortion was still something that was whispered about -- and draconian laws made it far more dangerous than it should have been.
After Roe, I remember thinking that the obstacles to a woman's right to control her own body would be gone for good. But even with the law on their side, women visiting clinics across the country have endured aggressive harassment, intimidation, and threats.
Yesterday, I filed suit to protect women from abuse and intimidation outside of a reproductive health clinic in Queens.
My lawsuit would establish a "buffer zone" of 16 feet from the door of the clinic to ensure that women visiting the facility can exercise their constitutional right without fear of harassment or threats.
Every Saturday morning for at least five years, an aggressive group of anti-choice protesters have gathered at the Choices Women's Medical Center in Jamaica, Queens, determined to stop women from exercising their constitutional right to control over their own bodies. These protesters intentionally collided with patients approaching the clinic -- pushing them, shoving them, and sometimes even pinning them against a wall. They've leveled death threats, telling volunteers, "You can die at any moment," and referenced mass shootings and terrorist attacks. And they've yelled threats not only at women, but at children who accompanied their mothers as they sought reproductive health care.
These tactics are not only horrifying. They're illegal.
The decision to terminate a pregnancy is deeply personal. It is often painful. Sometimes a mother learns that her own life is at risk if she carries a pregnancy to term. But it doesn't matter what the reason is. The law guarantees that women are the ones who have the right to make that choice, not a group of protesters and not some men sitting in Albany or Washington.
The law trusts women, and in New York, the law will be enforced.

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