Pro-Life Activists Convicted Under FACE Act

( – A federal grand jury convicted three pro-life activists on September 18 for “a FACE Act offense” and a felony conspiracy against rights for protesting an abortion clinic, which was suspected of conducting late-term abortions in Washington, DC. Two of the defendants, Joan Bell and Jean Marshell, are elderly citizens with more than 70 years old.

According to different reports, the FACE Act is a law created during the Bill Clinton administration that bans demonstrators from physically blocking access to a crisis pregnancy center, a place of religious worship, or an abortion clinic. At the time, some Republicans claimed the law could eventually endanger people’s freedom of speech and right to protest. However, the Biden administration’s Justice Department has stepped up FACE Act prosecutions of pro-lifers after the US Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. This decision returned the abortion issue to the states instead of the federal government.

According to the Department of Justice, Bell, Marshall and the third defendant named Jonathan Darnel face a maximum of 11 years behind bars, three years of supervised release, and a $350,000 fine. Many political analysts and journalists said on social media this was a radical move, as this maximum prison sentence could represent life in prison for Bell and Marshall.

Back in August, authorities convicted three other pro-life activists of violating the Clinton-era law during that same protest. One of the demonstrators, named Lauren Handy, called the Washington Metropolitan Police Department a couple of minutes after she removed some aborted fetuses from the medical waste of the abortion clinic.

Handy claimed that the five fetuses she removed showed advanced stages of development, which proved that the abortion clinic was breaking the law by executing late-term abortions on women. Despite her claims, the office of the Washington DC medical examiner said in a statement it was not going to perform any autopsy on the fetuses removed by the pro-life protesters. Different reports pointed out that no charges against this abortion center were eventually pursued.

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