Last week, six pro-life activists were convicted following a peaceful protest outside a Tennessee abortion clinic, and now face up to 10.5 years in prison and devastating fines.
“The persecution of Vaughn and his co-defendants clearly demonstrated the Biden Department of Justice’s forceful attempt to silence its ideological opponents,” said the Thomas More Society, the legal group that represented Paul Vaughan, one of the protestors.
Vaughn, along with five others, was prosecuted after peacefully protesting outside the entrance to an abortion clinic in Mount Juliette, Tennessee in March 2021.
Protestors were singing hymns, praying, and urging expectant mothers visiting the clinic for abortions to not go through with their decision.
During the protest, the pro-lifers calmly sat in front of the door to the clinic, hoping to deter women from entering the clinic to have an abortion.
One X user, Greg Price, posted footage of the peaceful protest.
Following the protest, FBI agents went to pro-lifers’ homes to arrest them at gunpoint.
“When I opened the door and saw the guns pointed at me, I asked them what they wanted, who they were looking for, and they said they wanted me,” said Vaughan, speaking to the Daily Signal.
Vaughan had been preparing to take his children to school before he was taken away by the FBI.
The protestors were charged with violating the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act, which was enacted under Frmr. President Bill Clinton, and with conspiracy against rights.
The latter charge carries the heavier penalty, with a $260,000 fine and up to 10.5 years in prison, while the FACE Act violation can carry a one-year prison sentence and a $10,000 fine.
All six defendants were convicted on both counts following a six-day trial, and are expected to be sentenced in July.
The case was adjudicated by Judge Aleta Trauger, who was appointed by Frmr. President Clinton.
Caroline Davis, a woman who attended the protest, served as a key witness in the government’s case against the pro-lifers, during which she repudiated her own participation in the protest.
According to The Thomas More Society, attorneys are expected to appeal the conviction of Vaughan, although they do not provide information on the likelihood of other defendants appealing their convictions.
This conviction is not the first time that the Biden Administration has taken legal action against peaceful pro-life activists, or political opponents.
In August 2023, five pro-lifers were convicted of violating the FACE Act in Washington, D.C.
On another occasion, Mark Houck made headlines when he was arrested at his home following a peaceful protest, although he was eventually acquitted.
In September, House Republicans introduced a measure attempting to repeal the FACE Act, which they have accused the Biden Administration of weaponizing against pro-life advocates.
“Biden’s Department of Justice has brazenly weaponized the FACE Act against normal, everyday Americans across the political spectrum, simply because they are pro-life,” said Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas).
Many opponents of the Biden Administration’s methods have highlighted significant bias in which cases they decide to prosecute.
The Biden Administration has consistently pursued peaceful pro-life activists while ignoring vandalism done to pro-life pregnancy centers.