After more than a year of investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Department of Justice has charged pro-life protestors, including an 87-year-old woman, with a little-known federal crime for allegedly blocking the entrance to an abortion clinic.
The incident occurred on March 5, 2021, when the ringleader of an ad hoc pro-life group called Chester Gallagher livestreamed himself and several other protestors blocking the entrance to the Carafem Health Center Clinic in Mount Juliet, Tennessee.
The DOJ alleges that the group consisting of Americans from Tennessee, Michigan, Mississippi, Virginia, Missouri, and South Carolina, “blocked the clinic’s entry doors and prevented a patient and an employee from entering.”
“The livestream also broadcast members of the group attempting to engage a patient and her companion as Boyd told his livestream audience that the patient was a ‘mom coming to kill her baby,'” the DOJ said.
Among those arrested is 87-year-old Eva Edl. Edl came to the United States after her rescue from a communist concentration camp in Yugoslavia shortly after World War II, and has been a long time pro-life activist.
The defendants have been charged under the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act, a Clinton-era federal law enacted in 1994.
“Whoever … by force or threat of force or by physical obstruction, intentionally injures, intimidates or interferes with or 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 … shall be … in the case of a first offense, be fined in accordance with this title, or imprisoned not more than one year, or both,” that law says.
But since Gallagher allegedly planned the event in advance, he and the other defendants have been charged with conspiracy, which carries a much heftier possible prison sentence.
“The indictment further alleges that on March 5, 2021, the 11 individuals, aided and abetted by one another, used force and physical obstruction to injure, intimidate, and interfere with employees of the clinic and a patient who was seeking reproductive health services,” according to the DOJ.
“If convicted, those charged with conspiracy face up to 11 years in prison and fines of up to $250,000. Others face up to one year in prison for the misdemeanor offense and fines of up to $10,000.”
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