Protesters Block Abortion Clinic in Defiance of Federal Access Law

From Associated Press

Protesters chained and cemented themselves to cars blocking an abortion clinic Saturday and claimed to be the first to break a federal law against such demonstrations.

Legislation signed by President Clinton on May 26 prohibits protesters from blocking access to women's health clinics or threatening patients and employees. The measure--the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act--has been dubbed "FACE."

"It is wrong for any law to penalize lifesaving action," said Monica Migliorino Miller, the protesters' spokeswoman.

"Milwaukee pro-lifers are the first in the nation to break FACE for the sake of protecting the defenseless unborn," she said.

At least five protesters used concrete and chains to fasten themselves to two vehicles blocking the doors of the clinic. Firefighters freed them. Across the street, other protesters erected three-foot-high white crosses, sang hymns and prayed.

Police Sgt. Paul Smallish said eight people were arrested on charges of disorderly conduct.

The FBI is investigating whether to file federal charges against them.

Twenty to 25 demonstrators from several area anti-abortion groups gathered at the site. The clinic, Affiliated Medical Services, was closed for about 90 minutes because of the protest.

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