Anti-Abortion Activists Arrested After Spending Hours Inside Clinic For 'Intervention'

Three men have been arrested for allegedly entering a women's health clinic in New York to force an "intervention" on abortion care.

The anti-abortion group Red Rose Rescue took responsibility for the incident, stating in a lengthy Facebook post that the "nonviolent direct action intervention" took place at All Women's Health & Medical Services in White Plains, New York on November 27.

According to the group, activists were placed outside the clinic and inside the waiting room for more than two hours. Seven women came into the facility during that time, Red Rose Rescue said, and one woman, who the group claimed "freely chose" to leave the clinic, left "in tears."

Two of the group's members who were inside the clinic and one who was stationed at the vestibule were arrested, the group's Facebook post said. A photo of an arrest taking place was posted to their website, accompanied by the message: "MISSION ACCOMPLISHED - Thanks be to God."

The Journal News reported that police confirmed those arrested were William Goodman, Franciscan friar Christopher Moscinski and Matthew Connolly. The men are to appear in court later this month.

According to the report, Goodman and Moscinski were charged with third-degree criminal trespassing and Connolly was charged with trespassing.

The Westchester District Attorney's Office said Thursday it's also looking into the incident.

"Investigators are looking at whether individuals illegally interfered with patients receiving access to medical care," District Attorney Mimi Rocah said in a statement, citing a New York state law that "gives patients and staff the right to be free from force, threats of force, or physical obstruction when trying to obtain or provide reproductive health care."

"In addition, criminal trespass or other criminal statutes may apply," Rocah added. "Criminal conduct which interferes with the rights of Westchester County residents to freely access healthcare is serious, and will be, if appropriate, prosecuted to the fullest extent possible.

Newsweek reached out to the Westchester District Attorney's Office and White Plains Public Safety for additional comment but didn't receive a response before publication.

All Women's Health operates three clinics in the state and is part of the National Abortion Federation and the National Coalition of Abortion Providers.

Anti-Abortion Activists Arrested After Hours-Long 'Intervention'
Three men have been arrested for allegedly entering a women’s health clinic in New York to force an “intervention” on abortion care. In this photo, an ultrasound machine sits next to an exam table in an examination room at Whole Woman's Health of South Bend on June 19, 2019 in Indiana. Scott Olson/Getty Images

The incident comes amid a nationwide debate on reproductive rights as the Supreme Court considers several abortion-related cases from Texas and Mississippi.

This week, the justices heard oral arguments about whether Mississippi's law banning most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy is constitutional. The court's conservative majority appeared open to upholding the law.

But Justice Sonia Sotomayor, warned that doing so could have serious consequences on the court's reputation.

"Will this institution survive the stench that this creates in the public perception that the Constitution and its reading are just political acts? I don't see how it is possible," Sotomayor said.