AG Files Suit Targeting Pro-Choice Harassment

By Samantha Haase

Attorney General James filed a federal lawsuit on February 9 against two pro-life protesters who consistently targeted employees and patients at a Planned Parenthood clinic on Bleecker Street in Manhattan.

The two protesters, Bevelyn Beatty and Edmee Chavannes, are accused of planning protests in front of the clinic, going as far as to physically harm employees, including one who needed X-rays after Beatty slammed the worker’s hand in a door. The duo also failed to comply with Covid-19 safety precautions such as wearing masks.

Beatty and Chavannes are being charged with blocking entry to the clinic and threatening the attendees. According to the complaint, Beatty and Chavannes began protesting at the specific clinic in February 2019, briefly stopped for a few weeks, and resumed attendance in March 2020, during the peak of the pandemic in the city. Beatty even promoted the protesting online, writing “Declare WAR on Planned Parenthood.”

“I will continue to do everything within my legal power to support the reproductive rights of women,” said James, in a press release.

It is not the first case the attorney general has been involved in regarding women’s reproductive rights. In January 2020, Attorney General James argued for establishing a buffer zone in Rochester, New York, so that women and patients can go into Planned Parenthood. That case was successful.

In addition, Attorney General James is involved in a similar lawsuit in Jamaica, Queens, attempting to secure safer traveling for patients to Planned Parenthood.
Harassment and violence against Planned Parenthood is a daily occurrence, and the statistics show the frequency of incidents is increasing. According to the National Abortion Federation, 2019 saw a doubling in the number of clinic invasions, increases in the number of death threats to providers, and an escalation in obstruction of health care facilities.

“For almost 50 years, Roe v. Wade has made clear the right of women to control their own bodies,” James said.

Joy D. Calloway, the interim CEO of Planned Parenthood Greater New York said the lawsuit sends a loud and clear message. “Planned Parenthood patients deserve to access sexual and reproductive health care free of fear and intimidation,” she said “Together, we are creating a future that ensures reproductive freedom for all.”

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