2 Anti-Abortion Demonstrators Jailed; Bail Increased for Appearance at Protest

While their supporters sang hymns, two abortion protesters were jailed Monday after a judge increased their bail from $5,000 to $75,000.

Also on Monday, 36 other abortion protesters received varying sentences from San Diego Municipal Judge John Thompson on their guilty or no-contest pleas to misdemeanor offenses stemming from other demonstrations.

The all-day bail review hearing was held for Connie Youngkin, 41, of Poway and the Rev. Frank Smith, 56, of Oceanside, who were found guilty Sept. 13 of conspiracy to organize blockades for Operation Rescue anti-abortion demonstrations.

They were given jail terms last month but were allowed to remain free on bail pending appeal of their misdemeanor convictions.

However, both were cited for being present during Operation Rescue's demonstration last month at an abortion clinic in La Mesa. A videotape of them at the protest was shown to the court.

The judge noted the "potential for violence" at the La Mesa demonstration because of the presence of both pro and anti-abortion groups.

Smith's lawyer, Greg Anthony, told the judge his client's actions posed "no risk to anybody," and his presence at the rally was protected by his First Amendment rights.

Youngkin, who acted as her own lawyer, said she was at La Mesa to make "a political statement," not to break the law.

Of the 36 protesters sentenced, 22 were given 10 days of public service, 13 agreed to terms of two years' probation that forbids them from engaging in picketing with Operation Rescue and a $200 fine, and one agreed to perform volunteer work.

Many of the 36 said before sentencing that they demonstrated against abortion because of their religious beliefs.

Copyright © 2019, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World