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Tipsheet

DOJ Announces Two Indictments for Vandalism of Pro-Life Organizations

Sarah Silbiger/Pool via AP, File

The U.S. Department of Justice announced two indictments by a federal grand jury on Tuesday in case where pregnancy resource centers were targeted with vandalism, intimidation, and interference — months after pro-abortion vandals targeted pro-life organizations across the country after a draft of the Supreme Court's Dobbs decision leaked.

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The two Florida residents indicted on Tuesday — Caleb Freestone (27) and Amber Smith-Stewart (23) — allegedly "engaged in a conspiracy to prevent employees of reproductive health facilities from providing those services." Specifically, the defendants "targeted pregnancy resource facilities and vandalized those facilities with spray-painted threats...including 'If abortions aren't safe than niether [sic] are you,' 'YOUR TIME IS UP!!,' 'WE'RE COMING for U,' and 'We are everywhere,' on a reproductive health services facility in Winter Haven, Florida." In addition, it's alleged the defendants also targeted pro-life organizations in Hollywood, Florida, and Hialeah, Florida.

The Justice Department explained that the indictment alleges the defendants "violated the FACE [Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances] Act by using threats of force to intimidate and interfere with the employees of a reproductive health services facility in Winter Haven because those employees were providing or seeking to provide reproductive health services" and by "intentionally damaging and destroying the facility's property."

According to DOJ, each defendant would face a maximum of 12 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and fines up to $350,000 if convicted.

"Since the leak of the Dobbs decision eight months ago, there have been at least 79 attacks — including firebombings and threats of violence — on pregnancy centers and other nonprofits working to save lives," noted Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America, in reaction to the indictments. "We thank House Republican leaders for standing with the front-line heroes serving women and families in our communities and keeping the pressure on the Biden-Harris administration."

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Calling the indictments "good first steps," Dannenfelser reminded that "the fight for equal justice is far from over." 

"With a new House GOP majority positioned to exercise its oversight powers, we are finally beginning to see some accountability," Dannenfelser continued. "Yet the Justice Department continues to target the people of states that protect unborn children and their mothers. Congressional Democrats had the opportunity to condemn the violence and all but three refused, and again we have had to call on the White House to stop vilifying pro-life Americans," she said. "The pro-life movement is keeping a watchful eye on this administration and we will not be silent in the face of violence and intimidation."

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