DA Chesa Boudin has charged three anti-abortion crusaders for allegedly crashing a women’s clinic and recording patients, and then flyering a doctor's neighborhood with handbills that exposed that clinician’s name and address.
Here in San Francisco, the often-cruel antics of anti-abortion trolls have generally been mild compared to the flat-out domestic terrorism of arson, bombings, and sometimes even murders seen elsewhere in the country. Sure, we’ve seen the shouting matches outside Planned Parenthood, there’s that pro-lifer march every January, and perhaps the occasional nutjob scaling the Salesforce Tower in the name of the cause.
But things took a much uglier turn recently in San Francisco, according to the Chronicle, as District Attorney Chesa Bouin charged three anti-abortion activists Thursday for breaking into USCF, recording patients, and doxxing a clinician with flyers all over the doctor’s neighborhood detailing their home address and image.
“Reproductive rights are under attack across the country—and here in San Francisco. Right here in our city, doctors who provide critical health care along with vulnerable patients are being stalked at their homes and places of work,” Boudin said in a statement. “My office will unconditionally protect all medical providers and women who exercise their constitutional right to seek abortion or other reproductive health care.”
That statement was provided to SFist, as well as visual evidence of these alleged harassment incidents, which reportedly occurred two months ago at a local hospital. “On March 13, [suspect Aaron Jonathan] Hurley and others are alleged to have defaced and damaged a bronze statue of the Madonna and Child at the hospital, covering it with fake blood and stickers with the doctor’s name on it,” according to the release. “There were also handwritten notes that said ‘harvested’ and the phrase ‘sold $500.’”
The charges allege they were just getting started, and the next day, one activist posed as a decoy to help the others break into a UCSF women’s clinic. “When a nurse went to speak to her at the door, Mr. Hurley and other trespassers came out from hiding and ran through the door,” the release adds. “They barged into the clinic and began filming patients and staff. Staff reported that these protesters were attempting to barge into operating rooms.
“Mr. Hurley and others are alleged to have entered the clinic where the victim works, chanting the doctor’s name and, 'We know who you are, we know what you do,' leading the victim and staff to be terrified for their safety and the safety of their patients."
Later that evening, allegedly, the group visited the doctor’s neighborhood and coated the streets with flyers announcing “There’s a killer in your neighborhood” along with a QR code that generated the doctor’s name, image, and address. The QR code appears to no longer work, but SFist had cropped out that section of the flyer to be on the safe side.
The above-named Hurley is a Los Angeles resident, and has been charged with felony stalking, misdemeanor obstructing freedom of access to a clinic, misdemeanor vandalism charges, misdemeanor trespassing with intent to interfere and misdemeanor interfering with a business. He was scheduled to be arraigned this afternoon.
Two other accomplices were also named. An arrest warrant is pending for a Lauren Brice Handy. “Another suspect, Kristen Turner, was cited and released,” according to the announcement. All are affiliated with something called Progressive Anti-Abortion Uprising — the same group whose Washington, D.C chapter has a member who had five fetuses found in her home in a very bizarre April incident.
In the current local environment, anything involving the district attorney is going to be seen through the lens of the recall campaign. Can we maybe not do that on this one? If these charges are true, this represents a scary escalation for a city that will likely serve as a sanctuary should reproductive rights start getting struck down all over the country.
Related: Photos: Reproductive Rights Activists Rally at Lake Merritt [SFist]
Image: UCSF Mission Bay Hospitals