An anti-abortion activist who led a blockade of a reproductive health clinic in Washington, D.C., in 2020 and drew widespread attention after the authorities found human fetuses at her home was sentenced on Tuesday to nearly five years in prison.

Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly of U.S. District Court in Washington sentenced the activist, Lauren Handy, 30, of Virginia, to 57 months in prison for her role in the blockade, officials said. Ms. Handy was one of several people convicted last year of civil rights conspiracy and of violating the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act in connection with the blockade. That law makes it a crime to threaten, obstruct or injure a person seeking access to a reproductive health clinic or to damage clinic property.

Matthew Graves, the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, said in a statement on Tuesday that Ms. Handy and her co-defendants had “conspired to use force to prevent fellow citizens from exercising rights protected by law.”

“People cannot resort to using force and intimidation to prevent others from engaging in lawful activity simply because they disagree with the law,” he said.

Martin Cannon of the nonprofit Thomas More Society law firm, which represented Ms. Handy, said in statement that she and her co-defendants had “conspired to be peaceful” and that the firm would “vigorously pursue an appeal of Ms. Handy’s conviction.”

Steve Crampton, also a lawyer for Ms. Handy, said in an interview on Tuesday that his client had been sentenced “for engaging in what Lauren vowed to make a nonviolent, peaceful demonstration against abortion.”


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