New York Attorney General Letitia James is suing for an injunction to block a pro-life group from protesting within 30 feet of abortion clinics, labeling the group’s activists as “terrorists.”
Ms. James asked a federal court to create a 30-foot buffer zone around state abortion facilities to keep out activists affiliated with Red Rose Rescue, who have a history of infiltrating clinics, offering red roses to pregnant women, and refusing to leave until they are arrested.
“We are also seeking civil penalties and damages because here in New York, access to abortion is legal and it will stay legal,” the Democratic lawmaker said at a Thursday press conference at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Hempstead.
“It is my duty and my honor and my responsibility to keep individuals safe from terrorists, and that’s what they are,” she said.
She acknowledged after being questioned by a reporter that Red Rose Rescue has not been labeled as a domestic terrorist organization.
“They haven’t been designated as such,” Ms. James said. “I refer to them as terrorists because of their activities.”
The lawsuit named five members of Red Rose Rescue, two of whom already are serving time in Michigan on trespassing convictions. The activists, Christopher Moscinski and Laura Gies, also are scheduled to be sentenced in New York on June 30 on charges stemming from their abortion-clinic protests.
“Only we have the right to make decisions about our own bodies — not anti-choice legislators, and not bigoted zealots,” Ms. James said. “We will not allow Red Rose Rescue to harass and harangue New Yorkers with their outrageous militant tactics.”
<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>I'm in Hempstead to announce a lawsuit against Red Rose Rescue, an anti-abortion group, for illegally invading reproductive health care clinics in New York and disrupting services and terrorizing patients.<br><br>Every New Yorker has the right to safely access reproductive care. <a href=”https://t.co/A5mKT3KcjR“>pic.twitter.com/A5mKT3KcjR</a></p>— NY AG James (@NewYorkStateAG) <a href=”https://twitter.com/NewYorkStateAG/status/1666869946943520768?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw“>June 8, 2023</a></blockquote> <script async src=”https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js” charset=”utf-8”></script>
Monica Migliorino Miller, director of Citizens for a Pro-Life Society and a Red Rose spokesperson, called the attorney general’s “terrorist” accusation a “total propaganda lie – born from sheer pro-abortion politics.”
“Those who participate in Red Rose Rescues are quiet, loving and completely peaceful,” Ms. Miller said in a statement. “Terrorism doesn’t save babies from abortion – love saves babies from abortion – and Red Rose Rescuers are committed to acts of love.”
She pointed to the Red Rose Rescue code of conduct, which requires members to “refrain from violence of any kind” and to avoid “profanity, cursing, yelling, screaming, or loud arguing.”
“James should read the code before she spouts off her pro-abortion mischaracterization of those who want to help women and save innocent human beings from violent extermination!” said Ms. Miller. “The abortion she supports is the real terrorism – terrorism carved into the crushed bodies of the aborted unborn.”
In the last two years, Ms. James said the protesters have “terrorized” patients at three New York abortion clinics. In April 2021, an activist pretended to be a patient to gain access to All Women’s Care in Manhasset, then let in her colleagues through a side door, including Moscinski.
“Moscinski brought in a black duffel bag carrying his friar robes. Patients panicked because they thought he had a gun,” Ms. James said. “The members of Red Rose Rescue staged a die-in in the waiting room, refusing to leave, disrupting services, and scaring both patients and staff.”
Three of the activists were carried out by police after going limp. They were ultimately convicted of trespassing and second-degree obstruction.
Refusing to leave until they are arrested is a “core mission of the group,” said New York’s lawsuit.
“They have explained that they do this because ‘our experience is, that as long as there is a pro-life presence in the abortion clinic, the abortions are halted,’” the motion said.
Ms. Miller accused the attorney general of “trampling on the right to free speech,” while Ms. James said the group “has repeatedly violated our national and state clinic access laws, and they have pledged to continue to invade, intimidate, harass, interfere as long as abortion is being performed in any state.”
The attorney general has hurled the “terrorist” charge before, ripping the National Rifle Association as a “terrorist organization” in a 2018 interview.
The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.