carafem’s Victory Against Anti-Abortion Extremists in Tennessee

When we opened a carafem health center in the Nashville suburb of Mt. Juliet, Tennessee in February 2019, we look forward to challenges. Just two days after opening, city leaders met to discuss an ordinance that would have forced us to close and relocate our office. During both opening days, our appointment schedule for the entire month was filled with local residents seeking abortion care, highlighting the great need for this care in the community. This situation revealed two distinct facts: local politicians were determined to block our work, while the community determinedly showed their need and hope for our services.

Despite the current legal restrictions on medically supervised abortion care in Tennessee, carafem has persevered. We are pleased to announce a recent achievement: six anti-abortion extremists were convicted of felony conspiracy charges last week. This belief stems from their actions of physically blocking the door of our office in Mt. Juliet, Tennessee on March 5, 2021.

Three years ago, this group of anti-abortion extremists illegally entered the medical building housing the Mt. Juliet Health Center by carafem and physically blocked the doors of our clinic. Some clients with appointments will not be able to access our office due to the blockade. However, as the safety of our clients and staff is always our top priority, we have been able to delay seeing most of our clients until the individuals who are trespassing and threatening our clients and staff have been removed. That morning, local law enforcement removed an estimated 25-35 protesters from our quiet medical plaza, resulting in 11 late arrests.

The trial against six of these anti-abortion extremists ended last week in a decisive victory for carafem and all abortion care providers. A federal jury unanimously found all six trespassers guilty of violating the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act, which protects patients’ right to access reproductive health centers. Sentencing is scheduled for July, with convicted extremists facing up to 10 years in prison and fines of up to $260,000.

Melissa Grant, carafem’s Chief Operations Officer, emphasized the organization’s unwavering commitment to the safety and security of clients and staff. Grant gave this statement after our victory:

“The intentional blocking of our carafem health center in Mt. Juliet, Tennessee is a premeditated act of infringement, aimed at denying our clients access and our staff from providing essential health care services… We are pleased to see justice served.”

People who need an abortion deserve high-quality, accessible, compassionate, and comprehensive medical care provided in their own communities. Miscarriage is a common experience for at least 1 in 4 people who can get pregnant. Abortion seekers are the experts in their own reproductive health experiences and should have the support to make the best decisions for their lives, their futures, and for their families.

But this legal victory serves as a powerful message to those seeking to restrict access to safe and legal abortions. It reaffirms that abortion care providers and patients deserve fair and protected access to essential reproductive healthcare, regardless of the political opinions of those who disagree.

carafem is proud to provide high-quality abortion care as part of more comprehensive reproductive health care in 17 states. We focus on the needs of our clients in everything we do. Whether people want to access care online, via video appointments, or at a health center, carafem strives to provide abortion care when and how people want it. We are extremely grateful for our dedicated staff, talented legal advocates, and the support of the people in the communities we serve.

While we are grateful for this legal victory, we know we have a long way to go. carafem remains steadfast in our commitment to continuing to expand access to high-quality, compassionate abortion care in our nation’s communities.

To help sustain our important work, please consider making a donation to carafem. Your support will help us continue to provide high-quality, compassionate abortion and reproductive health care.

As always, if you or someone you know needs sexual or reproductive health care, call us at 1-855-SAY-CARA or access care online.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button