Pro-Lifers Face Jail Time Over Peaceful Protests

( – With a jury now ready to deliberate, six pro-life activists could face up to 11 years behind bars for accusations by the federal government of conspiring to deprive others of their rights in Tennessee by demonstrating outside of an abortion clinic in 2021.

At the Fred D. Thompson US Courthouse in Nashville, lawyers for the US Department of Justice (DOJ) and the defendants delivered closing arguments on Monday, Jan. 29, the fourth day of trial. About 70 people packed the hearing, many of whom were friends and relatives of the defendants who traveled from other states.

The six pro-life activists were charged with violating the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act. The FACE Act isn’t merely about protecting abortion clinics but was designed to protect patients, healthcare providers, and reproductive health support facilities from threats of violence, obstruction, and property damage.

On March 5, 2021, the defendants took part in a protest in a hallway on the second floor of an office building. They were outside the entrance to the Carafem Health Center Clinic and argued their protest was peaceful. But during closing statements, Assistant US Attorney Amanda Klopf appealed to the jury by boldly comparing the defendants’ actions to those who attempted to block people from voting at polling locations. She said a protest cannot be considered “peaceful” if the demonstrators break the law.

The defendants maintain they did not violate the FACE Act by their actions and did not stop anyone from entering or exiting the facility. They allege to have merely stood outside to pray, sing hymns, and try to persuade women showing up to the facility to avoid getting an abortion. In closing arguments, their defense lawyers presented their case and noted how the event was peaceful and the defendants did not obstruct anyone from accessing the facility.

The defense team also argued that the defendants acted in a way consistent with their religious beliefs and that they viewed their protest as an attempt to save lives. The six women felt it was their duty to try and peacefully persuade women not to kill their children.

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