Abortion rights opponents sentenced to jail for trespassing at Alexandria women’s clinic

An abortion rights opponent, who earlier this year had five fetuses seized from her home, is one of six activists who has pleaded guilty and been sentenced to jail for trespassing in 2021 at an Alexandria, Virginia, women’s health clinic.

Lauren Handy, the director of activism for Progressive Anti-Abortion Uprising, on Tuesday was sentenced to 30 days in jail by an Alexandria General District Court judge, for trespassing. The other defendants were sentenced to four days behind bars.

On Nov. 16, 2021, Handy was one of six activists who trespassed in the waiting room of the Alexandria Women’s Health Clinic, handing out roses and advocating against abortion.

Earlier this year, Handy was indicted on federal charges in the District of Columbia, for conspiracy against rights and abortion clinic access obstruction. According to prosecutors, in March 2020, Handy and eight others activists barged into a D.C. clinic and blocked the doors, after she made an appointment under a fake name.

After her indictment, authorities seized five fetuses from Hardy’s home near Capitol Hill. Handy said she obtained them legally from a D.C. facility that performs abortions. D.C. police have said the fetuses “were aborted in accordance with D.C. law. So we are not investigating this incident along those lines.”

Handy’s trial on federal charges has not been scheduled yet. If convicted, she and eight others charged in connection with the blockade at the Washington Surgi-Clinic could face up to 11 years in prison.

Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a reporter at WTOP since 1997. Through the years, Neal has covered many of the crimes and trials that have gripped the region. Neal's been pleased to receive awards over the years for hard news, feature reporting, use of sound and sports.

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