Linden woman among 9 charged for creating blockade at reproductive health care clinic

Photo courtesy MGN
Photo courtesy MGN(Staff)
Published: Apr. 5, 2022 at 10:14 AM EDT
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WASHINGTON (WNEM) - A woman from Linden has been charged for allegedly helping create a blockade at a reproductive health care clinic.

Heather Idoni, 61, of Linden, was charged with eight other individuals for conspiracy against rights and a FACE Act offense as announced by Assistant Attorney Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division and U.S. Attorney Matthew M. Graves for the District of Columbia.

The indictment alleges the nine defendants took part in a conspiracy to create a blockade at a reproductive health care clinic in Washington, D.C. on Oct. 22, 2020, to prevent reproductive health services at the clinic.

The eight other defendants include Lauren Handy, 28, of Alexandria, Virginia, Jonathan Darnel, 40, of Arlington, Virginia, Jay Smith, 32, of Freeport, New York, Paulette Harlow, 73, of Kingston, Massachusetts, Jean Marshall, 72, of Kingston, Massachusetts, John Hinshaw, 67, of Levittown, New York, William Goodman, 52, of the Bronx, New York, and Joan Bell, 74, of Montague, New Jersey.

According to the indictment, Smith, Harlow, Marshall, Hinshaw, Idoni, Goodman and Bell traveled to Washington D.C. to take part in the blockade that was directed by Handy and was posted on Facebook by Darnel.

Handy, Smith, Harlow, Marshall, Hinshaw, Idoni, Goodman and Bell forcefully entered the clinic and set about blockading two clinic doors using their bodies, furniture, chains and ropes, according to the indictment.

When the blockade was established, Darnel livestreamed his co-defendants. The indictment also alleges the nine defendants violated the FACE Act by using a physical obstruction to injure, intimidate and interfere with the clinic’s employees and a patient because they were providing or obtaining reproductive health services.

If convicted, the defendants each face up to a maximum of 11 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $350,000. The case is being investigated by the FBI’s Washington, D.C. Field Office.