A pro-life activist could face over ten years in prison after a Tennessee court found him and five other activists guilty of violating federal law for protesting at an abortion clinic in 2021.
“Well, apparently, Laura, I’m guilty of talking with police officers and not getting arrested the day of the event. That makes you a felon in Joe Biden’s Department of Justice,” he said on Wednesday’s “The Ingraham Angle.“
Ingraham said the pro-life activists face a harsher punishment than many George Floyd protesters who used violence against police officers during the summer of 2020.
The FACE Act, signed by former President Bill Clinton in 1994, makes it a federal crime with potentially steep fines and jail time to use or threaten to use force to “injure, intimidate, or interfere” with a person seeking reproductive health services, or with a person lawfully trying to exercise the First Amendment right of religious freedom at a place of religious worship.
A Tennessee jury convicted Vaughn and five others on Tuesday of violating the federal law by blocking the entrance at an abortion clinic outside of Nashville in 2021. The DOJ also added a felony conspiracy charge that carries up to 10.5 years in prison, Vaughn’s attorney Steve Crampton said.
Crampton said there never should’ve been a federal law prohibiting peaceful protests.
“[A]fter Dobbs, the whole purpose for a FACE Act, which was to support the so-called federal right to abortion, has disappeared. So really what you have now is the kind of lipstick on a pig calling them reproductive health services like birth control or ultrasound or something of that nature. But obviously these people weren’t there to protest birth control.
“They were there for one reason and it was abortion. It was a peaceful undertaking as you note. It was handled locally. They prosecuted locally. And a year and a half later the Biden DOJ comes sweeping down after Dobbs had been announced and now throws the book at them and tags on to a misdemeanor crime, the FACE Act violation, the felony conspiracy charge that carries up to 10 years in prison. Absolutely outrageous,” he said.
Vaughn characterized the Department of Justice’s actions as “criminalizing” Christian beliefs.
“This law is the same one they used back in 1880s for the KKK. It’s just an utterly ridiculous attempt at the DOJ to criminalize Christian beliefs and Christian actions in our culture,” he remarked.
The jury’s decision, handed down late Tuesday after a weeklong trial, marks the latest development in a case that has been closely watched by conservative groups, who have accused the federal government of unfairly targeting abortion opponents by using 1994 federal law designed to protect abortion clinics from obstruction and threats. Reproductive rights supporters counter the law, known as Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act, or the FACE Act, is more critical than ever in shielding abortion providers from violence now that the constitutional right to abortion has been revoked.
The Associated Press and Fox News’ Brianna Herlihy contributed to this report.