New York Attorney General Letitia James Files Lawsuit to Deny Pro-Life People’s Free Speech

State   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Feb 9, 2021   |   6:03PM   |   Albany, New York

A Manhattan Planned Parenthood with a record of botched abortions has New York Attorney General Letitia James fighting for it in court.

On Tuesday, James’ office filed a lawsuit to block pro-life advocates from protesting outside the abortion facility, Spectrum News reports. If she succeeds, pro-lifers would be prohibited from reaching out to women within a buffer zone around the Planned Parenthood.

James accused pro-lifers of harassing women and blocking them from entering the abortion facility – even though pro-lifers are overwhelmingly peaceful and law-abiding.

“Let me be very clear: No person, no business, and no government body has the right to deny or limit a woman’s access to an abortion, and I will continue to do everything within my legal power to support the reproductive rights of women,” James said in a statement.

Specifically, her lawsuit accuses African American pro-life advocates Bevelyn Beatty and Edmee Chavanne of “repeatedly” violating federal, state and local “clinic access laws” through “intimidating and disruptive behavior” in the past year, according to the Yonkers Tribune.

It alleges that, on numerous occasions, Beatty and Chavannes “attempted to impede access to reproductive health care services by subjecting incoming patients and escorts to a barrage of unwanted physical contact, verbal abuse, and threats of harm.”

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In early June, LifeNews reported about police arresting Beatty and Chavannes outside the Planned Parenthood while violent riots and looting were occurring across the city during the Black Lives Matter protests. The women were accused of violating New York City social distancing guidelines because of the coronavirus.

Beatty and Chavannes said they were social distancing while they offered information to women outside the abortion facility.

James’ lawsuit seeks to prohibit Beatty and Chavannes and other pro-lifers from coming within an 18-foot by 30-foot area around the Manhattan Planned Parenthood.

The lawsuit cites the federal Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act, the New York Clinic Access Act, and the New York City Access to Reproductive Health Care Facilities Act as evidence to support its claims. All these laws restrict pro-lifers’ free speech and their ability to provide information and support to women outside abortion facilities.

Joy D. Calloway, interim CEO of Planned Parenthood of Greater New York, praised James for filing the lawsuit and fighting to protect “reproductive freedom for all.”

James also fought to block pro-lifers from doing outreach at an abortion facility in Rochester and won. Her office also is involved in another case that would prevent pro-lifers from reaching out to women outside the Choices Women’s Medical Center, another abortion facility in Queens.

The Manhattan Planned Parenthood has a reputation for botched abortions and other patient emergencies. Many of them have been documented only because pro-lifers were standing outside and saw ambulances responding. At least five patients were transported by ambulance to the hospital from the Manhattan Planned Parenthood in 2020, according to Operation Rescue.

The federal government does not require abortion facilities to report complications.