The Department of Justice under Attorney General Merrick Garland announced the indictment of pro-life activist Herb Geraghty on Oct. 14, bringing the number of apparently nonviolent pro-life protesters targeted under the FACE (Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances) Act by President Joe Biden’s DOJ this year to 22. Meanwhile, the agency has yet to announce a single arrest or indictment against any of the vandals or arsonists who terrorized and firebombed crisis pregnancy centers after the leak of the Supreme Court’s Dobbs v. Jackson decision overturning Roe v. Wade.
Geraghty, a 25-year-old from Pittsburgh, is accused of participating in a “reproductive health care clinic blockade in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 22, 2020.” Along with nine other defendants, the DOJ alleges, Geraghty “forcefully entered the [abortion facility] and set about blockading two clinic doors using their bodies, furniture, chains and ropes.” In March, the FBI announced indictments against the other nine: “Lauren Handy, 28, of Alexandria, Virginia; Jonathan Darnel, 40, of Arlington, Virginia, Jay Smith, 32, of Freeport, New York; Paulette Harlow, 73, of Kingston, Massachusetts; Jean Marshall, 72, of Kingston, Massachusetts; John Hinshaw, 67, of Levittown, New York; Heather Idoni, 61, of Linden, Michigan; William Goodman, 52, of the Bronx, New York; and Joan Bell, 74, of Montague, New Jersey.”
“The indictment also alleges that all 10 defendants violated the FACE Act by using a physical obstruction to injure, intimidate and interfere with the clinic’s employees and a patient, because they were providing or obtaining reproductive health services,” the DOJ continued in its recent press release.
A description of the demonstration by LifeSiteNews, however, paints a far less charged picture:
Once inside, the rescuers sought to offer help to families who were seeking abortion, counselling them to change their minds about aborting their babies, praying with them, and informing them about local resource centers. Rescuers blocked the abortion facility’s entrances and stationed themselves around the complex to physically prevent access to the building.
The protest very well may have violated trespassing restrictions, as well as provisions of the FACE Act, which criminalizes “attempts to … interfere with” a person for “obtaining or providing reproductive health services.” The law was passed in 1994 and designed to crack down on attempted bombings or arson of abortion offices. The DOJ claims, “The FACE Act is not about abortions [but] protects all patients, providers, and facilities that provide reproductive health services, including pro-life pregnancy counseling services.” But under Biden’s Justice Department, it might as well limit its protections to abortion facilities. Furthermore, if the overbroad law can be stretched by corrupt G-men to prosecute peaceful Americans exercising their First Amendment rights — as the Garland DOJ has since stretched it — Congress should repeal it.
In a just world, federal law wouldn’t exist to protect the practice of killing babies in their mothers’ wombs. But since it does, it appears the FBI made an easy example out of Geraghty and the nine other participants who were indicted in March of this year. If convicted, they face “up to a maximum of 11 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $260,000,” even though their alleged crimes pale in comparison to the devastation wrought by abortion activists shattering windows and pitching Molotov cocktails into pro-life pregnancy resource centers.
Since the roundup of nine pro-lifers who participated in the D.C. protest, the FBI has made similar arrests of pro-life protesters whose alleged crimes are far less clear — indicating that the weaponized agency is becoming more emboldened in its crackdown on opponents of the administration’s radical pro-abortion stance.
On Sept. 23, some 20 to 30 armed FBI agents with more than a dozen vehicles swarmed Catholic pro-life activist and author Mark Houck’s Pennsylvania home and arrested him in front of his children, according to Houck’s wife Ryan-Marie. Houck is accused of “attacking a patient escort” named Bruce Love at a Planned Parenthood facility in violation of the FACE Act. But Ryan-Marie says her husband only “shoved him away from his child” after Love refused to stop verbally harassing their 12-year-old son and “came into [the son’s] personal space.” Furthermore, as The Federalist’s Senior Legal Correspondent Margot Cleveland reported:
[A]s a matter of law, the facts of the private criminal complaint sworn out by Love do not constitute a violation of the FACE Act because Houck was standing at a corner away from the abortion facility, no clients were involved, and the alleged assault had nothing to do with so-called reproductive services. And that conclusion flows from Love’s version of the facts, ignoring Houck’s allegation that Love was harassing his 12-year-old son.
The case against Mark was thrown out of the district court in Philadelphia earlier this year, LifeSiteNews reported, but the FBI picked it up as the federal agency continues to wage war on the administration’s political opponents. Houck faces “a maximum possible sentence of 11 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and fines of up to $350,000” if convicted.
On Oct. 5, the DOJ unsealed another indictment against “Chester Gallagher, Heather Idoni, Calvin Zastrow, Coleman Boyd, Caroline Davis, Paul Vaughn, Dennis Green, Eva Edl, Eva Zastrow, James Zastrow and Paul Place” for “an alleged reproductive health care clinic blockade in Mount Juliet, Tennessee, on March 5, 2021.” They are accused of using “force and physical obstruction to injure, intimidate and interfere with employees of the clinic and a patient who was seeking reproductive health services,” and face prison time and fines if convicted.
The FBI conducted an armed raid on Gallagher’s home on the same day, entering his home and questioning his neighbors when agents realized Gallagher was out of town. As The Federalist’s Evita Duffy noted, far from using violence, the 11 peaceful protesters “lined the inside hallway of a medical building that houses multiple offices, including the Carafem abortion facility, and peacefully tried to convince mothers seeking an abortion to choose life.”
As the FBI targets pro-lifers with less and less evidence of even superficial crimes, what has it done to hold accountable the pro-abortion terrorists who firebombed numerous pro-life organizations and pregnancy resource centers after the Supreme Court removed its prohibition on state abortion bans? Apparently nothing.
A Federalist review of Justice Department press releases in 2022 revealed not a single announcement of the arrest or indictment of a pregnancy center arsonist. It took the FBI 44 days after the Dobbs opinion leaked to even acknowledge it was investigating incidents of violence against pro-life groups. As The Federalist’s Jordan Boyd concluded earlier this month, “the arrest of peaceful pro-lifers but not of violent pro-abortionists confirms Biden’s DOJ does not equally apply the law.”
Asked on Tuesday if “the FBI has made any arrests related to the vandalism, firebombing, etc. of dozens of pregnancy resource centers and churches around the country since the leak of the Supreme Court’s Dobbs v. Jackson decision?” the FBI refused to comment. The FBI also declined to answer whether any individuals had been indicted, or if the FBI had conducted any raids on potential suspects such as those used to target pro-life activists Mark Houck and Chester Gallagher; the agency directed The Federalist to the DOJ for indictment inquiries. The DOJ did not respond.