Charges were dropped Wednesday against seven antiabortion protesters accused of blocking a passageway last January at a Northern Virginia medical clinic where abortions are performed.
The protesters about 30 of their supporters who jammed the usually quiet Fairfax County Courthouse hallways, and their 13 attorneys said they were unhappy with Fairfax County General District Court Judge Mason Grove's decision. They said they wanted to be tried in court so that they could voice their antiabortion sentiments.
"We're disappointed that the issue didn't get aired," said Mary Ann Kreitzer, spokeswoman for the group. "All of us are committed to nonviolent civil disobedience."
Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney William E. Fox Jr. requested that the charges be dropped because he said the protesters had been charged improperly. Instead of facing charges of obstructing a passageway, the four women and three men should have been charged with trespassing.
Fox said after the 15-minute proceeding that he will not bring any charges against the group.
The antiabortion protest occurred at the Northern Virginia Women's Medical Center, 3819 Prosperity Rd., Fair fax, on Jan. 8. The protesters crowded in the clinic's recovery room for abortion patients at 8 a.m., "to stop them from killing the babies," Mrs. Kreitzer said.