The Department of Justice (DOJ) recently indicted 11 pro-life activists who investigators say violated the FACE Act by blocking access to the Tennessee abortion clinic during a protest.
According to the indictment, the activists organized an event blockading an abortion clinic near Nashville earlier this year. The DOJ alleges the group prevented at least one potential patient and employees of the clinic from entering in early March. The federal FACE Act blocks demonstrators from blocking abortion clinic access.
Seven protestors were charged with “conspiracy against rights secured by the FACE Act,” including Paul Vaughn, 55; Calvin Zastrow, 57; Heather Idoni, 58; Chester Gallagher; Coleman Boyd, 51; Caroline Davis, 24; and Dennis Green, 56.
The indictment also charges Eva Zastro, 24; Eva Edl, 87; James Zastro, 45; and Paul Place, 24, of committing FACE Act violations. The individuals charged with conspiracy face a fine of up to $250,000 and up to 11 years in prison. The protestors accused of FACE Act violations face up to $10,000 in fines and one year in prison.
Additionally, the DOJ states that Boyd live-streamed the protest on social media, showing group members “attempting to engage a patient and her companion as Boyd told his live stream audience that the patient was a ‘mom coming to kill her baby.'”
The DOJ charges come weeks after the FBI conducted a raid on the home of a Catholic pro-life Pennsylvania activist, alleging that he had assaulted another man at an abortion clinic earlier this year. Mark Houck, 48, was awakened to more than a dozen FBI agents with guns drawn outside the family’s home on September 23.
DOJ aggressively investigates, prosecutes pro-life activists; ignores 17 incidents of arson and vandalism at pro-life clinics
Although the DOJ under Biden has aggressively prosecuted pro-life activists, there have been no arrests made in the 17 or more incidents of arson and vandalism against pro-life clinics committed by Jane’s Revenge, a radical abortion group.
In addition to the other charges he faces, Houck also faces up to $350,000 in fines and 11 years of prison, including up to three years of supervised release.
The FACE Act, passed in 1994, subjects individuals who attempt “to injure, intimidate or interfere with any person because that person is or has been, or to intimidate such person or any other person or any class of persons from, obtaining or providing reproductive health services” to federal charges.
According to Randall Terry, founder of the pro-life organization Operation Rescue, in an interview about the pro-life movement, the FACE Act “effectively broke the back of our movement.” Terry said that before the act’s enactment, pro-life protestors blocking entrances to abortion clinics would not face federal charges, only local trespassing charges.
In a statement, the president of the national pro-life grassroots advocacy organization, Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America, Marjorie Dannenfelser, condemned the 11 indictments as only the most recent example of the “Biden administration’s egregious abuse of the Justice Department.”
“Pro-abortion Democrats will stop at nothing to protect the abortion industry that spends millions to elect them while demonizing pro-life advocates working to save lives and turning a blind eye to violence against them,” said Dannenfelser. She asserts the federal government has adopted a double standard in how it enforces the law and that the Federal Bureau of Investigation has done next to nothing to investigate the increase in violence and vandalism targeting pro-life pregnancy care centers across the country this year.
“Pregnancy centers have been firebombed, an elderly canvasser peacefully exercising her First Amendment rights was shot in the back, and the pro-life movement’s calls for equal justice under the law have been ignored,” added Dannenfelser. “Still, the FBI refuses to conduct a transparent investigation and state whether any arrests have been made in scores of attacks since the leak of the Dobbs decision.”