June 13, 2024

More Pro-Life Activists Sentenced For 2020 D.C. Abortion Clinic Protest

Seven pro-life activists had been sentenced to years in federal jail on Tuesday and Wednesday for protesting on the Washington Surgi-Clinic in Washington, DC, in 2020, an abortion clinic notorious for late-term abortions.

President Joe Biden’s Department of Justice (DOJ) introduced conspiracy in opposition to rights and Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act expenses in opposition to 9 pro-life activists for the protest, which carried a most jail sentence of 11 years and $350,000 in fines. The activists had been discovered responsible in two separate trials in August and September of 2023 and have been in jail ever since, awaiting sentencing.

The FACE Act “prohibits threats of force, obstruction and property damage intended to interfere with reproductive health care services,” whereas conspiracy in opposition to rights — a cost that carries a most 10-year jail sentence — “makes it unlawful for two or more persons to agree to injure, threaten, or intimidate a person in the United States in the free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States or because of his or her having exercised such a right,” according to the Department of Justice (DOJ).

RELATED ARTICLE — Explainer: DOJ Uses KKK-Era Charge to Extend Prison Time for Pro-Life Activists

On Tuesday, Progressive Anti-Abortion Uprising (PAAU) activist Lauren Handy, 30, was sentenced to 57 months in federal jail with credit score for the 9 months she has already spent in jail.

John Hinshaw, 69, was additionally sentenced on Tuesday to 21 months in jail, and William Goodman, 54, was sentenced to 27 months in jail, each with credit score for time served, according to the DOJ.

On Wednesday, 42-year-old Jonathan Darnel, an Iraq warfare veteran who served two excursions, was sentenced to 34 months behind bars with credit score for time served. Herb Geraghty, a 27-year-old pro-life atheist, was sentenced to 27 months in jail with credit score for time served.

Jean Marshall, 74, was sentenced to 24 months in jail, and Joan Bell, 76, was sentenced to 27 months in jail, in response to the DOJ.

“At sentencing she provided a Dr’s note indicating she’s in need of a hip replacement due to extreme osteoporosis,” PAAU’s founder and former government director Terrisa Bukovinac stated of Marshall in a put up to X. “The feds said that hip replacement surgery is elective and wanted a harsher sentence.”

“Pro-Life Rescue ICON Joan Andrews Bell has been sentenced to 27 months in prison under FACE,” Bukovinac added. “Her family cried tears of joy that the sentence wasn’t longer. Joan told the judge she will not cooperate with the terms of her probation after her release.”

Two extra activists, Paulette Harlow, 75, and Heather Idoni, 62, are scheduled to be sentenced later this month. Idoni can be scheduled for sentencing in July for various FACE Act expenses associated to a special abortion clinic protest in Tennessee, in response to the DOJ. A tenth activist, Jay Smith, was sentenced to 10 months in jail in March of 2023.

Prosecutors argued that the activists organized a blockade and used chains and locks to barricade the abortion clinic. In the method, prosecutors alleged {that a} nurse was injured and girls had been unable to entry the clinic by the entrance entrance.

“Some simply kneeled and prayed at Santangelo’s facility, some passed out pro-life literature and counseled abortion-minded women, and others roped and chained themselves together inside the facility,” in accordance the Handy’s attorneys from the Thomas More Society, which has represented different pro-life activists like Mark Houck and David Daleiden.

The DOJ expenses occurred the identical month that Handy and Bukovinac allegedly discovered the stays of roughly 115 aborted infants in a waste field from the Washington Surgi-Clinic, five of whom they are saying might have been partially aborted or killed after start in violation of federal regulation. The Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia beforehand informed Breitbart News that it was investigating the invention of the infants however not the clinic’s abortionist, Dr. Cesare Santangelo.

RELATED: D.C. Examiner Halts Planned Disposal of Late-Term Aborted Babies After Pressure Campaign

U.S. District Court Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, who presided over the trials, barred Handy’s attorneys from utilizing a 2013 undercover video published by Live Action during which Santangelo was allegedly recorded saying he wouldn’t help a child that’s born alive in a botched abortion. Handy’s attorneys argued that video is “integral to understanding Lauren’s motive that day in October 2020.” Kollar-Kotelly additionally didn’t permit video or photograph proof of the 115 aborted infants for use as proof within the trial and prohibited defendants from arguing their actions had been protected by the First Amendment or had been dedicated in protection of a 3rd particular person, unborn kids.

Kollar-Kotelly reportedly stated throughout sentencing that Handy and the opposite activists’ actions had been uncaring towards ladies looking for abortions and referred to as abortion a “human need[s].”

“Neither you nor any of the other co-conspirators showed any compassion, empathy, toward those two women needing medical care,” Kollar-Kotelly said. “Your views took precedence over, frankly, their human needs.”

During sentencing Darnel stated he was “proud of the courage” of his codefendants, according to Live Action News.

“I maintain that abortion is highly immoral and it is illegal. I took an oath as a captain to obey orders and as a Christian to love my neighbor, and I hope in some way I am accomplishing both,” he stated.

Since the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision, the DOJ has notably charged extra pro-life activists below the FACE Act than pro-abortion activists, even if FBI director Christopher Wray admitted in November 2022 that roughly 70 p.c of abortion-related threats of violence within the United States for the reason that Dobbs determination have been in opposition to pro-life teams.

Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta additionally admitted in December in remarks on the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division’s sixty fifth Anniversary that the top of Roe v.Wade dialed up “the urgency” of the DOJ’s work, together with the “enforcement of the FACE Act, to ensure continued lawful access to reproductive services.”

Out of dozens and dozens of assaults on being pregnant facilities for the reason that Dobbs leak, solely a handful of pro-abortion activists have been arrested, together with in FloridaNew York, and Ohio.

When questioned by Republicans in March of 2023 concerning the obvious enforcement discrepancy, Merrick Garland claimed extra pro-life activists have been prosecuted as a result of they commit crimes “during the daylight,” whereas pro-abortion activists are likely to strike at night time.

Activists within the pro-life motion and a few Republicans have been calling for the repeal of the FACE Act, arguing that the Biden administration has repeatedly weaponized the 1994 regulation in opposition to its political opponents.

Katherine Hamilton is a political reporter for Breitbart News. You can comply with her on X @thekat_hamilton.