FORT MYERS, Fla. — The Lee County Sheriff's Office confirmed five adults were arrested and four juveniles given notice to appear in court following a disturbance outside the Planned Parenthood location in Fort Myers on Thursday.
According to deputies, the congregation sat in front of the front door blocking the door to the facility off Commerce Park Drive.
They said the group refused to move when asked.
A statement from the Planned Parenthood office alleges the group actually tried to "invade." Their statement in full:
“This morning, an anti-abortion group tried to invade our health center in Fort Myers and blockaded the entrance to interfere with our patients' ability to access health care. The safety of our patients and staff is always our top priority, our health center staff followed protocol and kept everyone safe. We are thankful for the law enforcement’s quick response, to our knowledge nine arrests have been made so far. When we talk about ‘care— no matter what’ this is what we mean: today, our patients will continue to receive the high-quality, compassionate care they need. Our health center is open.”
"It's not unusual for us to have a lot of people on the street," said Stephanie Fraim, President of Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida. "It's just the first time they've done this kind of trespassing."
A contingent of protesters remained outside the Planned Parenthood site for several hours after the arrests.
"We knew there were going to be children murdered here today," said one, Colman Boyd. "As Christians, we're here to pray and preach."
Boyd contends that the group arrested blocked the door as a "peaceful" and "non-violent" opposition to the activities inside. He did not comment on allegations of an "invasion."
Following Fox 4's post of this story to social media, Florida Senate Democrats' official Twitter account released a statement saying, "This is a gross invasion of a woman's personal freedom. Already facing a difficult decision, women shouldn't have to fear seeking further health care. We must fight to ensure Planned Parenthood can continue to provide affordable quality care for women across the country."
This is a gross invasion of a woman's personal freedom. Already facing a difficult decision, women shouldn't have to fear seeking further health care. We must fight to ensure Planned Parenthood can continue to provide affordable quality care for women across the country. https://t.co/LcZhRAe08R— Florida Senate Democrats (@FLSenateDems) January 27, 2022