The Department of Justice indicted 11 individuals earlier this month for federal crimes related to their pro-life activism at a Tennessee abortion clinic, charges many say are politically motivated.
According to a release from the DOJ, the federal indictments allege the individuals violated the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act by using social media to organize a “blockade” of the Carafem Health Center Clinic in Mount Juliet, Tennessee.
The FACE Act prohibits any attempts “to injure, intimidate or interfere with any person because that person is or has been, or in order to intimidate such person or any other person or any class of persons from, obtaining or providing reproductive health services.”
If convicted of misdemeanor charges, some of the defendants could incur fines of up to $10,000 and up to a year in prison; others, facing conspiracy charges, could be looking at fines up to $250,000 and up to 11 years in prison.
Critics worry the Biden administration is using federal agencies to target pro-lifers in the wake of the recent Dobbs decision that overturned Roe v. Wade.
“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,” Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America, said in a statement.
“SBA Pro-Life America has documented more than 80 incidents of violence, vandalism and intimidation directed toward pro-life individuals and organizations since the leak of a draft opinion in the Dobbs case,” according to the same statement. And yet, “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.
“It is clear the administration has put a target on anyone who dares tell the truth that abortion takes the life of an innocent child.”
The latest indictments come shortly after pro-life activist Mark Houck’s Sept. 23 indictment and arrest. The Lion previously reported on the FBI raid and gunpoint arrest at Houck’s home for allegedly shoving a man who was in his 12-year-old son’s face outside a Planned Parenthood clinic last year.
Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Missouri, called the raid of Houck’s home “unconscionable.”
“A Catholic man arrested at gunpoint in a SWAT-style raid for protesting at an abortion clinic. Meanwhile, not a single arrest for the firebombings of pregnancy care centers. This is a deeply corrupt DOJ,” he tweeted.
The Thomas More Society continues to defend Houck. In a recent video, Thomas More Society Vice President Peter Breen indicated that “this is really [the DOJ’s] first major foray – their first public attempt – to intimidate and frighten the pro-life movement.”
Breen noted that his group won a case three years ago on the “exact same set of circumstances.” He states that with Houck, he has “an even stronger case, because the alleged victim here was the aggressor.”
“Mark Houck did nothing wrong here,” Breen added. “He should be heralded as a man who defended his son, and who has done wonderful things to save babies and to exercise his First Amendment rights.”