Three more pro-life activists have been found guilty of violating the FACE Act and conspiracy against rights for their role in blocking access to an abortion clinic in Washington, DC. The pro-life activists, Joan Andrews Bell, Jonathan Darnel, and Jean Marshall, were immediately incarcerated after the guilty verdict was handed down. This follows the guilty verdicts of five other pro-life activists involved in the same blockade last month. The DOJ’s overreach of power in prosecuting nonviolent pro-life actions is egregious and must be stopped. It is absurd to turn peaceful people who are trying to save lives into federal criminals. The FACE Act must be repealed now!
During the blockade, the activists engaged in various peaceful actions, such as kneeling and praying, distributing pro-life literature, counseling women considering abortion, and physically chaining themselves inside the facility. These actions were done to protect the unborn and advocate for the sanctity of life. However, the FACE Act defines such conduct as obstructive and prohibits it. This is a blatant violation of free speech and the right to peacefully protest.
The potential sentences that these activists face are outrageous. They could be imprisoned for up to 11 years, fined up to $350,000, and subjected to three years of supervised release. This is an excessive punishment for people who were simply exercising their First Amendment rights and trying to save innocent lives. It is clear that the Biden administration’s DOJ is determined to suppress pro-life activism and discourage others from standing up for the unborn.
It is worth noting that the DOJ’s prosecution of pro-life activists under the FACE Act is disproportionately targeting them over pro-abortion activists. FBI Director Christopher Wray himself admitted that the majority of abortion-related threats of violence in the United States are directed towards pro-life groups. Yet, the DOJ continues to prioritize the prosecution of pro-life activists instead of addressing these threats. This is a clear bias and a violation of justice.
The convictions and sentences handed down to these pro-life activists are an affront to their constitutional rights and a suppression of free speech. The fight for the sanctity of life must continue, and the FACE Act must be repealed to ensure that peaceful pro-life activists are not unjustly criminalized. Saving lives should not be a federal crime.