". . . and having done all . . . stand firm." Eph. 6:13


Biden DOJ Convicts Four More Pro-Lifers

April 4, 2024

The Biden Justice Department is prosecuting more pro-lifers in a move one congressman called “a weaponization of federal government.” On Wednesday, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Tennessee announced that four pro-life activists were convicted of misdemeanor violations of the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act after participating in a peaceful protest outside a Nashville-area abortion facility in 2021. A federal judge found defendants Eva Edl, Eva Zastrow, James Zastrow, and Paul Place guilty on Tuesday. The four could face up to six months in prison, five years of supervised released, and fines of up to $10,000 each. They will face sentencing July 30.

Appearing on “Washington Watch” on Wednesday, Rep. Ralph Norman (R-S.C.) commented, “This is a weaponization of federal government. It’s aimed at Christians. Ever since this administration took office three and a half years ago, they’ve gone after Christians, they’ve gone after pro-life centers.” He continued, “Ain’t it amazing that you can have cities torn up, buildings burned, looting, people hurt, you don’t hear about that. … Yet if you sing and are just peacefully being at [abortion facilities] … and then charge them under the FACE Act, which is — it’s ludicrous.”

Edl, the Zastrows, and Place reportedly faced a bench trial, meaning that Middle District of Tennessee Magistrate Judge Chip Frensly heard the case, instead of a jury. According to news reports, Frensly deliberated for less than half an hour before handing down a guilty verdict. The pro-lifers, after being convicted, prayed and sang hymns outside the courthouse.

Six other activists who participated in the 2021 pro-life protest were previously convicted in January and face sentencing July 2. They face “up to a maximum of 10 and a half years in prison, three years of supervised release and fines of up to $260,000.” Last year, pro-life activists were convicted of FACE Act violations related to a peaceful protest outside a Washington, D.C.-area abortion facility. Clinton-appointed U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly determined that the FACE Act violation in question was a “crime of violence” and immediately jailed the convicted pro-lifers months before sentencing. Thus far, the Biden Justice Department has prosecuted at least 25 cases under the FACE Act, targeting around 60 Americans.

Norman commented, “This happens in third-world countries that are dominated by those that run Venezuela, Cuba. And — no, it’s startling — and it just shows you how we’ve got to have a change in administration.” He added, “And it couldn’t come too quick.”

In a February speech at the National Religious Broadcasters 2024 International Christian Media Convention in Nashville, Tennessee, former President Donald Trump warned that the Biden administration is treating pro-lifers as “enemies of the state.” Pointing to the Tennessee pro-lifers convicted in January, the former president said, “This is a communist state, just so you understand. This is the beginning of a communist state. … This is the only way they’re going to be able to stay in office, because they’re running a regime that is so incompetent. Nobody’s ever seen anything like it.”

Trump also reiterated his December pledge to form a task force, if reelected, to root out anti-Christian discrimination. “As soon as I get back in the Oval Office, I’ll also immediately end the war on Christians,” the 45th president promised just days before Christmas. “Under crooked Joe Biden, Christians and Americans of faith are being persecuted and government has been weaponized against religion like never before. Biden and his corrupt Department of Injustice have sent SWAT teams to arrest pro-life activists…”

“When I’m back in the White House, never will your government be used to target Christians and other religious believers. Upon taking office, I will create a new federal task force on fighting anti-Christian bias to be led by a fully reformed Department of Justice that’s fair and equitable,” Trump promised. “Its mission will be to investigate all forms of illegal discrimination, harassment, and persecution against Christians in America. … Americans of faith are not a threat to our country. Americans of faith are the soul of our country and they have been from the beginning.”

In a statement to The Washington Stand, U.S. Attorney General for the Middle District of Tennessee Henry Leventis said that although the Justice Department seeks to protect freedom of speech “without regard to the beliefs or viewpoints being expressed,” “the defendants were charged as a result of their actions, which went beyond mere expressions of their beliefs, interfered with the rights of others, and violated federal law.” He added, “Accordingly, these defendants were found guilty by a federal magistrate judge and their co-defendants were found guilty by a jury of their peers.”

S.A. McCarthy serves as a news writer at The Washington Stand.