West Columbia man could face federal prison sentence after judge finds him guilty of blocking entrance to Planned Parenthood

From the US Attorneys Office – Steven Clark Lefemine, 68, of West Columbia was found guilty yesterday of violating the Freedom of Access to a Clinic Entrances (FACE Act) by a federal judge following a bench trial.  This is the first FACE Act conviction in South Carolina.

Federal Court – Columbia

The FACE Act  is law signed by President Bill Clinton in 1994, designed to protect access to abortion facilities.

According testimony in Lefemine’s trial, on Nov. 15, 2022, Lefemine sat in front of the entrance to Planned Parenthood South Atlantic (PPSA) in Columbia and blocked access to the facility. Testimony provided by employees of PPSA indicated that the clinic provides a litany of reproductive services, including birth control, mental health counseling, pregnancy testing and planning, prenatal and postpartum services as well as abortion.

Lefemine also sang the hymn “Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty” and he recited Bible verses.

PPSA staff is familiar with Lefemine because he frequently protests the operation of the clinic. PPSA staff members preserved the incident via video and audio recording. Lefemine elected to act as his own attorney during the case. During his testimony, he admitted blocking the doors to the clinic to prevent the clinic from performing abortions.

“We will protect South Carolinians’ right to peacefully protest, but we will also protect their right to access healthcare facilities,” said Adair F. Boroughs, U.S. Attorney for the District of South Carolina. “Lefemine’s protest became unlawful when he physically prevented patients from entering Planned Parenthood.”

United States District Judge Joseph A. Anderson presided over the bench trial, which lasted one day. Lefemine faces a maximum penalty of six months in federal prison. He also faces a fine of up to $10,000, and one year of supervision to follow the term of imprisonment. Judge Anderson will sentence Lefemine after receiving and reviewing a sentencing report prepared by the U.S. Probation Office

This case was investigated by the FBI Columbia Field Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney T. DeWayne Pearson is prosecuted the case.

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