DOJ (File)

DOJ Sues Five Protesters For Blocking Access To Florida Abortion Clinic

DOJ (File)
DOJ (File)

The U.S. Department of Justice filed a civil lawsuit on Thursday against five individuals accused of violating the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act (FACE) by trespassing and obstructing access at a Fort Myers abortion clinic in 2022.

The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Fort Myers, alleges that Calvin Zastrow, Kenneth Scott, Chester Gallagher, Eva Zastrow, and Katelyn Sims engaged in illegal activities on January 27, 2022, at the Fort Myers Health Center operated by Planned Parenthood.

The protesters are accused of trespassing, blocking the clinic’s front door, attempting to enter the clinic through another door, and intimidating clinic workers.

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“These five defendants deliberately obstructed access to reproductive health services,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “Physically blocking those seeking or providing reproductive health services in order to impose their views is unlawful. The Justice Department will continue enforcing the FACE Act to protect against such obstruction.”

“The Justice Department ensures that individuals cannot pick which laws they wish to follow,” said U.S. Attorney Roger B. Handberg for the Middle District of Florida. “We look forward to continuing to protect the rights of patients and providers to access reproductive health care.”

While Scott is a Florida resident, the other defendants reside in different states. During the incident, Lee County sheriff’s deputies arrested all five individuals for trespassing.

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As a civil case, the lawsuit seeks monetary damages for the alleged violations of the FACE Act, which aims to protect the rights of individuals seeking or providing reproductive health services.

The Department of Justice’s lawsuit underscores its commitment to upholding the FACE Act and ensuring access to reproductive healthcare facilities without intimidation or obstruction.

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