Senior Associate Laura Hecht-Felella recently achieved a triumph for abortion protectors in the Court of Appeals of Tennessee! In mid-February, Laura delivered an incredible appellate argument in Knoxville, TN, representing four abortion clinic escorts whose free speech was infringed on when anti-abortion protestors tried to weaponize a domestic violence order of protection to silence them. These volunteers give their time and sacrifice their safety to protect patients from the onslaught of harassment they face when walking into abortion clinics.

One protestor made it her mission to intimidate and harass patients outside clinics, and she sued our four clients for orders of protections. When the protestor lost, she appealed and was represented by a national law firm dedicated to ending abortion.

Co-counsel Alexis Tahinci and Laura powerfully argued the case with Laura focusing on our clients’ first amendment right to express their support of patients. On March 28, 2024, the appellate court affirmed the trial court’s denial of the petition!

“Clinic escorts play a crucial role in ensuring patients can access reproductive healthcare safely and with support,” said Laura. “This legal victory safeguards their right to assist patients, and rightly rejects attempts to misuse domestic abuse statutes to suppress speech and constitutionally protected activities.”

This was a huge victory for us and our clients, and for abortion providers, advocates and allies everywhere. We always stand ready to defend those whose private medical decisions become criminalized, nationwide, and to those that support these medical decisions, including healthcare providers, researchers, clinics, and their allies.

Now Read:

Our Work: Anti-Abortion Harassment

SWORD Resource: STOP WEAPONIZING OPEN RECORDS DEMANDS: A Resource for Reproductive Healthcare Providers and Allies

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