(DCWatchdog.com) – In a new legal blow to pro-life forces in the United States, more anti-abortion activists have been convicted and imprisoned for blockading an abortion clinic in the nation’s capital.
At the end of last week, three pro-life protesters were found guilty of breaking the FACE Act and sent to jail immediately. In August, another five anti-abortion activists were convicted in the same case, Breitbart News reports.
All eight pro-life campaigners in question have been found guilty over the October 2020 blockade of the Washington Surgi-Clinic, which has been “infamous for late-term abortions,” according to the report.
The three newly convicted anti-abortion activists – Jonathan Darnel, 40, Jean Marshall, 72, and Joan Andrews Bell, 74 – were declared guilty of a “conspiracy against rights” and violating the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act.
The FACE Act bans “violent, threatening, damaging, and obstructive conduct intended to injure, intimidate, or interfere with the right to seek, obtain, or provide reproductive health services.”
“This overreaching of power and authority by Biden’s DOJ is egregious and must be stopped. Nonviolent pro-life actions should not be a federal crime, and peaceful people with a desire to save lives should not be jailed for over a decade,” reacted Caroline Taylor Smith, head of leftist pro-life group PAAU (“Progressive Anti-Abortion Uprising”).
“Some of these Rescuers could be facing death by incarceration. We must repeal the FACE Act now!” she insisted.
Lawyers of Lauren Handy, PAAU’s director of activism who was among the five anti-abortion activists convicted in July, previously revealed that some protesters “simply kneeled and prayed…some passed out pro-life literature and counseled abortion-minded women, and others roped and chained themselves together inside the facility.”
According to the US Justice Department, all eight pro-life campaigners who have been found guilty now face a potential “maximum sentence of 11 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of up to $350,000.”
One more pro-life activist, 73-year-old Paulette Harlow, is still awaiting trial on similar charges, while another one, 32-year-old Jay Smith, took a plea deal and was imprisoned for ten months.
The 2020 clinic blockade protesters were indicted five days after on March 25, 2022, Handy and PAAU’s founder, Terrisa Bukovinac, allegedly found remains from some 115 aborted babies in a waste box from the Washington Surgi-Clinic on March 25, 2022,