- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 4, 2024

Four pro-life activists were found guilty of violating federal law for a protest outside an abortion clinic, bringing the number of such convictions under the Biden administration to 10 and renewing GOP charges of “weaponized” justice.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeffrey Frensley in Nashville found the protesters guilty this week of violating the Freedom to Access to Clinic Entrances Act for their March 2021 demonstration outside the Carafem Health Center Clinic in Mount Juliet, Tennessee.

Eva Edl, Eva Zastrow, James Zastrow and Paul Place each face a maximum of six months in prison, five years of supervised release, and up to $10,000 in fines, according to the Justice Department.

Another six activists who participated in the Mount Juliet protest were convicted in January of FACE Act violations as well as felony conspiracy. They each face up to 10 1/2 years in prison. Their sentencing is scheduled for July 2.

Video of the protest shows the activists sitting and singing in the hallway outside the door of the clinic, which is located on the second floor of a medical building.

“These defendants positioned themselves directly in front of the main clinic door for over two hours, physically blocking access to the clinic, resulting in no patients accessing the clinic,” said the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Tennessee in a Wednesday statement.

“Police requested that the defendants leave or move multiple times, but after more than two hours, these defendants were arrested,” the statement said.

Those outraged by the convictions included Rep. Mary Miller, Illinois Republican, who accused the Biden administration of enforcing a two-tiered system of justice.

“Biden’s DOJ is prosecuting Christians for peacefully praying outside abortion clinics, which is their First Amendment right,” she said on X. “Meanwhile, 10 million illegal aliens walked into our country, including known terrorist ‘gotaways’ & Biden’s DOJ has no idea where they are. AMERICA LAST!”

Rep. Andy Biggs, Arizona Republican, declared that “Biden’s DOJ is weaponized against pro-life demonstrators.”

Rep. Chip Roy, Texas Republican, renewed his call for Congress to pass his legislation repealing the FACE Act and “STOP Biden’s DOJ crusade against pro-life Americans.”

Passed in 1994, the FACE Act is intended to prohibit blocking or attacking abortion clinics as well as pro-life pregnancy centers, but under the Biden administration, the law has been used primarily against pro-life protesters.

Last year, a Philadelphia jury found pro-life advocate Mark Houck not guilty of violating the FACE Act following a 2021 skirmish with a Planned Parenthood volunteer. Mr. Houck is suing the Justice Department for malicious prosecution.

At least 90 pro-life pregnancy centers and offices have been vandalized since the May 2022 leak of the Supreme Court’s majority opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson, according to the CatholicVote tracker.

So far, only four pro-choice activists are believed to have been charged with FACE Act violations.

The defendants, who were charged last year with vandalizing pro-life pregnancy centers in Florida, are scheduled to go on trial in July before U.S. District Judge Virginia Hernandez Covington in Tampa.

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