The federal government is suing eight protesters who blocked access to an abortion clinic and forced it to shut down for about 90 minutes.
Six of the defendants had been the first people charged under a new federal law protecting abortion clinics. Each was convicted Nov. 15 of a misdemeanor, and face up to six months in prison and a $10,000 fine at sentencing Feb. 13.The first person convicted under the new law was Paul Hill, a former minister who killed an abortion doctor and an escort July 29 outside a Pensacola, Fla., clinic. Hill also was convicted of murder and sentenced to die.
The defendants in the lawsuit chained and locked themselves inside cars parked June 4 in front of the entrances to Affiliated Medical Services. Another protester was cemented into a 55-gallon drum in front of one of the doors, and had to be chipped out by firefighters.
The Justice Department lawsuit seeks to permanently bar the defendants from blocking clinic entrances. It also asks for unspecified monetary damages to compensate the clinic, police and fire departments.
The clinic also has sued.