State Attorney General Files Federal Suit Against Anti-Abortion Protestors
New York State Attorney General Letitia James has filed suit in federal court, to end the obstructive, threatening, harassing, and violent activity by the Defendants, Bevelyn Beatty and Edmee Chavannes, at Planned Parenthood of Greater New York’s Manhattan Health Center.”
The New York State Attorney General, Leticia James, has filed suit in federal court to protect a Lower Manhattan-based nonprofit, Planned Parenthood, from harassment by anti-abortion protestors.
Planned Parenthood, based at 123 William Street, in the Financial District, provides reproductive health care throughout the United States, often to women living below the poverty line. The organization estimates that 80 percent of the 2.4 million clients it helps each year receive services designed to prevent unintended pregnancy. It also projects that these services avert more than 350,000 unwanted pregnancies, and thus prevent more than 200,00 abortions annually. In cases when unplanned conception has already occurred, however, Planned Parenthood also provides access to abortion, performing approximately 340,000 such procedures each year, which amounts to about four percent of the healthcare services the group offers.
Planned Parenthood provides these services at more than 600 facilities across America, including the Manhattan Health Center, located at 26 Bleecker Street. This clinic provides a broad range of gynecological services, including routine check-ups, birth control, pregnancy care, and testing (like breast, cervical, testicular, and prostate-cancer screening), and vaccines, along with testing for sexually transmitted diseases and AIDS. Additionally, the Manhattan Health Center performs abortions.
It is at 26 Bleecker that Ms. James alleges that for the past two years, a pair of anti-abortion protestors, Bevelyn Beatty and Edmee Chavannes, “would typically stand right at the door to the Center, inches away from a volunteer escort who was responsible for opening the door, following patients and staff and yelling at them at close range as they passed by. Defendants also pounded on and screamed through the glass windows after patients went inside.”
Protestors Bevelyn Beatty (left) and Edmee Chavannes (right) have become regular fixtures at a Downtown clinic that performs abortions, among a broad range of reproductive health services.
In a legal brief filed with the U.S. District Court in Lower Manhattan on February 9, Ms. James also alleges that during the COVID-19 pandemic, “Defendants have weaponized the threat of the virus, to further intimidate and interfere with the Center’s operations. Defendants refuse repeated requests from patients, staff, and escorts to maintain their distance and wear masks and continue to accost people entering the Center at close range, while mocking mask usage and desire to avoid close contact with them.”
In May, the NYPD sought to separate the protestors and patients by installing police barricades at the front door of 26 Bleecker Street. But, Ms. James argues, the protestors, “have refused to respect these basic safety precautions put in place by law enforcement and instead forced their way inside the barricades, elbowing and shoving aside escorts and staff who tried to stop them, and putting themselves directly in the path between patients and the clinic’s door.” The complaint also alleges that the protestors, “climbed over [the barricades], and forcibly grabbed them out of the hands of escorts and staff, throwing the barricades into the street while shouting at the escorts and staff with no masks on and refusing all requests to social distance.”
In June, Ms. James argues, the protestors turned violent, recounting that one defendant closed a staff member’s hand in the door, causing the person to cry out, “she’s crushing my hand.” The brief recounts that, “as the staff member continued to try to force the door open, Beatty’s weight repeatedly slammed the door onto the staff member’s hand, which became bruised and swollen and required x-rays.”
At the same protest, Ms. James says, Ms. Beatty, “repeatedly shoved a clinic volunteer attempting to enter the clinic, slapped a different volunteer in the face, and threatened to knock an escort unconscious.” The complaint also recalls a protest at which Ms. Beatty, “took a running start and rammed her entire body into several escorts who had linked arms in an attempt to block her from entering the police barricades.”
Ms. Chavannes, the brief alleges, “screamed threats in a staff member’s face while maskless, bending the staff member backwards over the barricades until police intervened to pull [her] off; and both Defendants physically blocked the main and side entrances to prevent patients and staff from getting into the Center.”
Ms. Beatty and Ms. Chavannes being arrested at a June protest in front of the Planned Parenthood clinic, where Ms. Beatty is alleged to have said, We are going to terrorize you so good that your business will be over, Mama. We are violently pursuing the kingdom of God. Violently pursuing.”
Ms. James’s complaint says of Ms. Beatty, “she has posted online that she had three abortions of her own, after which she found religion while in jail. Since then, she has posted videos of herself entering a Planned Parenthood clinic in Pennsylvania under false pretenses, obstructing a Planned Parenthood clinic in Camden, New Jersey, where she defied orders to move away by the police, and getting arrested at the Manhattan Health Center,” adding that, “Defendant Beatty also has a public history of violent activity, which is known to the Center’s security staff. In 2018, Beatty was arrested in Maine for assault, after she was filmed repeatedly hitting another woman in a nightclub; she has bragged about the severity of this assault and threatened to do the same to a clinic escort. She has also posted videos of herself firing guns, announcing that she intends to make it a weekly practice.”
The brief quotes Ms. Beatty as saying during one protest (recorded on streaming video), “this is war. We are called to destroy the works on the enemy. And that’s what we doing right now. We are going to destroy the works of the enemy.” A few minutes later, Ms. Beatty says, “We are going to terrorize this place. And I want the manager to hear me say that… We are going to terrorize this place. More people are coming. More and more and more… We are going to terrorize you so good that your business will be over, Mama.” Ms. Beatty adds, “we are violently pursuing the kingdom of God. Violently pursuing.”
Based on these allegations, Ms. James is asking the federal court to grant an injunction (based on overlapping federal, State, and City laws) that would order a halt to such interference with access to abortion clinics, while also asking for financial damages on behalf of the Manhattan Health Center.
The Garden of the Finzi-Continis, released in 1970, is a classic film about an Italian-Jewish family at the onset of World War II. Directed by Vittorio De Sica and based on the historical novel by Giorgio Bassani, the motion picture won the 1972 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. A half century after its release and Oscar win, join the Museum for a special screening and discussion about The Garden of the Finzi-Continis. A private screening link for the film will be made available for a period of 48 hours, on Wednesday, February 10 and Thursday, February 11, to everyone registered for this program. Then, tune in on February 11 at 2 PM EST for an in-depth discussion about the film and its legacy. $10
Today: NOBU DOWNTOWN with Executive Chef Matt Hoyle. Free
Support local restaurants from the comfort of your home through the Dine Around Downtown: Cooking At Home Edition web series. Hosted by James Beard Award-winning chef and author Rocco DiSpirito, the series features chefs from Lower Manhattan restaurants to cook up signature recipes and share tips for crafting everything from complex gastronomic delights to go-to comfort foods.
The series is FREE, and all donations go directly to a food-security charity of the restaurant’s choice or the restaurant’s employee relief fund.
In 2020 the pandemic, protests against racial injustice, and political unrest challenged virtually every aspect of life in New York City. As we enter 2021, New Yorkers will discern how these challenges will be met by deciding who will lead the city as mayor and council members. Get ready for the upcoming city elections by joining Trinity’s Phillip Jackson and Errol Louis, political analyst and host of New York 1’s “Inside City Hall,” as they consider the pressing issues facing the city. Register here to join the conversation.
1) 140 West Broadway, application for sidewalk vault replacement – Resolution
2) Tin Building, application for relocation of originally proposed John Street snack bar and concession – Resolution
Suspect in Chambers Street Subway Stabbing Taken Into Custody
A suspect in the October murder of a man at the Chambers Street subway station of the J and Z trains (located beneath the Municipal Building and across the street from City Hall) has been taken into custody.
On Wednesday, officers from the NYPD’s Warrant Squad arrested 29-year-old Amado Garzon Morales, a resident of New Brunswick, New Jersey, who was tracked down in the Richmond Hill section of Queens.
City Council Candidate Argues Against Squeezing Schools
City Council candidate Christopher Marte led a February 4 rally on the steps of Tweed Courthouse (the headquarters of the City’s Department of Education, or DOE) to demand “budget amnesty” for public schools in the Downtown district he hopes to represent. To read more, click here.
Transit Hub Becomes Venue for Multiple Violent Crime
The Fulton Center subway and retail complex (at the corner of Broadway and Fulton Street) has been the scene of several violent assaults in recent days. On Friday, January 29, shortly after 11:00 pm, a gang of six young people (four male and two female) quietly entered the Dunkin Donuts location within the facility, and crept up behind a man who was placing an order at the counter. To read more…
A Shore Thing
HRPT Moves Ahead with Plans for ‘Beach,’ Park and Historic Sculpture for Gansevoort Peninsula
The Hudson River Park Trust (HRPT) has released a package of three requests for proposals (RFPs) intended to kickstart the process of transforming the Gansevoort Peninsula—a five-acre-plus chersonese that juts out from the West Side waterfront, between Gansevoort and West 13th Streets—into a new public amenity.
Plans call for a scenic beach (more for viewing the water than public bathing, owing to concerns about hygiene and safety), along with a 56,000-square-foot ballfield for use by local youth leagues, a playground, an outdoor “river gym” (consisting of rust-proof calisthenics equipment), a dog run, and public restrooms.
Sounding A Lot Like the Leftists of 2011, Young Republicans Re-Occupy Zuccotti Park
On Sunday afternoon, several dozen members of the New York Young Republican Club gathered in the Financial District to protest alleged stock market manipulation by large traders, at the expense of individual investors.
No judgment for those of you who will want to drop those new year’s resolutions (or whatever other health kicks you’ve got going on) after reading this PSA:
NYC Restaurant Week launched this week, as hundreds of hot spots citywide have been lining up special delivery deals through February 28.
Promotions include lunch or dinner with a side for $20.21, two-course brunches and lunches ($26) and three-course dinners ($42), mostly Monday through Friday. (Some participating restaurants are honoring those prices on weekends.)
Dozens of restaurants south of Chambers Street plan to take part in NYC Restaurant Week, including Brooklyn Chop House, The Fulton, Crown Shy, Stone Street Tavern, The Dead Rabbit and more.
The Restaurant Week website lists several more tempting options to treat yourself — even if it means playing it a little fast and loose with your commitments to fitness. (We won’t tell.)
On Thursday evening, Mayor Bill de Blasio, at his eighth (and final) State of the City address, announced that a dedicated bike lane would be coming to the Brooklyn Bridge (with another slated for the Ed Koch Bridge) before the end of this year. To read more…
TODAY IN HISTORY
660 BC – Traditional date for the foundation of Japan by Emperor Jimmu.
1534 – Henry VIII of England is recognized as supreme head of the Church of England.
1790 – The Religious Society of Friends, also known as Quakers, petitions U.S. Congress for the abolition of slavery.
1794 – First session of United States Senate opens to the public.
1808 – Jesse Fell burns anthracite on an open grate as an experiment in heating homes with coal.
1861 – American Civil War: The US House of Representatives unanimously passes a resolution guaranteeing noninterference with slavery in any state.
1937 – The Flint sit-down strike ends when General Motors recognizes the United Auto Workers trade union.
1939 – A Lockheed P-38 Lightning flies from California to New York in seven hours two minutes.
1953 – Cold War: President Dwight D. Eisenhower denies all appeals for clemency for Julius and Ethel Rosenberg.
1978 – Censorship: China lifts a ban on works by Aristotle, William Shakespeare and Charles Dickens.
1979 – The Iranian Revolution establishes an Islamic theocracy under the leadership of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.
2001 – A Dutch programmer launched the Anna Kournikova virus infecting millions of emails via a trick photo of the tennis star.
2006 – Vice President Dick Cheney shot Harry Whittington, a 78-year-old Texas attorney, while participating in a quail hunt on a ranch in Riviera, Texas.
2011 – Arab Spring: The first wave of the Egyptian revolution culminates in the resignation of Hosni Mubarak and the transfer of power to the Supreme Military Council after 18 days of protests.
1800 – Henry Fox Talbot, English photographer and politician, invented the calotype (d. 1877)
1812 – Alexander H. Stephens, American lawyer and politician, Vice President of the Confederate States of America (d. 1883)
1847 – Thomas Edison, American engineer and businessman, developed the light bulb and phonograph (d. 1931)
1921 – Lloyd Bentsen 69th United States Secretary of the Treasury (d. 2006)
1934 – Manuel Noriega, Panamanian general and politician, Military Leader of Panama (d. 2017)
1934 – Mary Quant, British fashion designer
1934 – John Surtees, English motorcycle racer and race car driver (d. 2017)
1650 – Rene Descartes, French mathematician and philosopher (b. 1596)
1948 – Sergei Eisenstein, Russian director and screenwriter (b. 1898)
1963 – Sylvia Plath, American poet, novelist, and short story writer (b. 1932)