An antiabortion activist who kept fetuses in a Capitol Hill home was convicted Tuesday of illegally blockading a reproductive health clinic in D.C. Lauren Handy was on trial with four others who were charged with violating the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act, a 1994 law that prohibits threats to and obstruction of a person seeking reproductive health services or providers, the Washington Post reports. A U.S. District Court jury in D.C. found Handy and all four of her co-defendants guilty on all counts. Federal prosecutors allege the defendants — Handy, of Alexandria, Va.; John Hinshaw, of Levittown, N.Y.; Heather Idoni, of Linden, Mich.; William Goodman, of New York; and Herb Geraghty, of Pittsburgh — violated federal law when they used chains, bike locks and ropes to blockade the Washington Surgi-Clinic in October 2020. The trial for a second group of defendants facing charges from the same blockade is scheduled to begin next week. It took the jury of eight men and four women about a day to reach the verdicts following about a week of testimony and evidence. The defendants sat expressionless as the verdicts were read.
In the hallway outside the courtroom afterward, the defendants were allowed to briefly mingle with their supporters, several of whom were in tears. “You are standing on the shoulders of giants,” one of Handy’s supporters said to her. “This is your Birmingham jail,” another supporter told her, a reference to where the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was imprisoned during civil rights demonstrations in 1963. In the hallway, Handy called out the name of the abortion doctor at the Northwest Washington clinic and said the doctor was “committing infanticide.” Minutes later, U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly summoned the defendants and their attorneys back into the courtroom. Based on the convictions, she ordered Handy and the other co-defendants jailed until sentencing later this year. The defendants face up to 11 years in prison and a fine of up to $350,000. “They planned their crime carefully, to take over that clinic, block access to reproductive services and interfere with others’ rights,” Assistant U.S. Attorney John Crabb said during his closing arguments last week. “The idea of deliberately breaking the law, to them, was sexy.”