Attorney General James Obtains Court Order Stopping Militant Anti-Abortion Group from Blocking Access to Abortion Care
Judge Prohibits Red Rose Rescue from Coming Within 15 Feet of Any Reproductive Health Care Facility in 13 Downstate Counties
NEW YORK – New York Attorney General Letitia James announced that a federal judge granted her office’s motion for a preliminary injunction against Red Rose Rescue, an anti-abortion extremist group. In June 2023, the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) filed a lawsuit against members of Red Rose Rescue for invading reproductive health care clinics, threatening staff and clinicians, and terrorizing patients. The next month, OAG filed a motion for a preliminary injunction to stop Red Rose Rescue from blocking access to abortion care while the case proceeds.
In an order handed down yesterday evening, Federal Judge Kenneth M. Karas subjected Red Rose Rescue to a 15-foot buffer zone around all clinics within the jurisdictions of the Southern District of New York (SDNY) and the Eastern District of New York (EDNY).
“This important decision will protect reproductive health care providers and the patients they serve from Red Rose Rescue’s hateful, militant tactics while our lawsuit proceeds,” said Attorney General James. “Red Rose Rescue has made it clear that they intend to continue obstructing access to abortion care, but we will not allow them to harass New Yorkers with their bigotry. The right to make decisions about our own bodies belongs to us, and us alone, and New Yorkers have my word that I will always fight to defend everyone’s freedom to safely access health care.”
Red Rose Rescue is a radical anti-abortion group whose members seek to prevent abortions by trespassing into private medical facilities and clinics and refusing to leave until they are physically removed by law enforcement. In the past two years, Red Rose Rescue has delayed and interfered with the provision of reproductive health care services at three clinics in New York. At each of these clinics, multiple patients’ appointments were delayed or missed due to Red Rose Rescue’s actions.
Judge Karas found that OAG had shown irreparable harm and a likelihood of success on the merits in the ongoing lawsuit. He also determined that a buffer zone was in the public interest and would not infringe on defendants’ First Amendment rights. The preliminary injunction applies to the individual defendants in the lawsuit and all affiliates of Red Rose Rescue and protects clinics in the following downstate counties: New York, Bronx, Westchester, Rockland, Putnam, Orange, Dutchess, Sullivan, Kings, Nassau, Queens, Richmond, and Suffolk.
Following the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, Attorney General James launched a pro bono legal hotline to provide legal support to patients and health care providers nationwide. New Yorkers are encouraged to call the New York abortion rights legal hotline at (212) 899-5567 for free legal information and resources about accessing abortion.
This matter is being handled by Senior Counsel Sandra Pullman and Assistant Attorney General Zoe Ridolfi-Starr of the Civil Rights Bureau, Assistant Attorney General Julia Toce of the Watertown Regional Office, and Assistant Attorney General Heather McKay of the Rochester Regional Office, under the supervision of Civil Rights Deputy Bureau Chief Travis England. Additional assistance was provided by Special Counsel for Reproductive Justice Galen Leigh Sherwin of the Executive Division, Health Care Bureau Chief Darsana Srinivasan, and Detective Investigator Wilsonia Jean-Philippe of the Investigations Bureau. The Civil Rights Bureau and the Health Care Bureau are part of the Division for Social Justice, which is led by Chief Deputy Attorney General Meghan Faux. The Investigations Bureau is a part of the Division for Criminal Justice, which is led by Chief Deputy Attorney General José Maldonado. The Executive Division, Division for Social Justice, and Division for Criminal Justice are all overseen by First Deputy Attorney General Jennifer Levy.