Thursday, June 20, 2024

DOJ Puts Pro-Life Grandmother Behind Bars For Trying to Stop Abortions

Pro-life activist Heather Idoni received a sentence of 24 months in prison on Wednesday, convicted of federal conspiracy against rights and Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act charges brought by the Justice Department.

Idoni, 59, will spend two years in prison for trying to stop abortions from taking place at a Washington, D.C. area abortion clinic on Oct. 20, 2020. She is mother to 15 children, according to LifeSite news, five of whom are her biological children and 10 of whom she and her husband reportedly adopted from Ukraine.

She told The Epoch Times that she expects to die in prison.

Her sentencing is part of the DOJ’s focus on enforcing the FACE Act against pro-life activists since the June 2022 overturn of Roe v. Wade. Led by Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division, the DOJ has charged dozens of pro-life activists for attempting to stop women from aborting their unborn babies.

Idoni is one of several pro-life activists sentenced to prison time in connection to the 2020 incident: pro-life activist Lauren Handy received 57 months in prison, John Hinshaw 21 months, WIlliam Goodman 27 months, Jonathan Darnel 34 months, Herb Geraghty 27 months, and Joan Bell 27 months .

“Federal law is clear: using force, threatening to use force or physically obstructing access to reproductive health care is unlawful,” Clarke said in a release announcing Idoni’s sentence. “People have a First Amendment right to communicate their views but they do not have the right to use chains, locks and obstruction to prevent access to reproductive health care facilities.”

“The Justice Department will continue to protect both patients seeking reproductive health services and providers of those services,” she added.

The DOJ releases on the topic do not include the word “abortion,” but rather use the phrasing, “reproductive health.”

Earlier this month, Republican New Jersey Rep. Chris Smith called on the U.S. Marshals and the Bureau of Prisons to provide proper care to Idoni and fellow pro-life activist Jean Marshall following reports that Idoni had not received proper medical treatment while in the custody of the U.S. Marshals following a stroke.

Critics have accused President Joe Biden and the DOJ of weaponizing the FACE Act against pro-lifers while failing to charge pro-abortion criminals for the hundreds of attacks on pregnancy resource centers since the May 2022 leak of the draft Supreme Court opinion indicating Roe would soon be overturned.

Some, among them Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, and Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, have called for the repeal of the FACE Act, arguing that it serves no purpose but to target pro-life activists.

“The Biden administration is using the FACE Act to give pro-life activists and senior citizens lengthy prison terms for nonviolent offenses and protests—all while turning a blind eye to the violence, arson, and riots conducted on behalf of ‘approved’ leftist causes,” Lee told The Daily Signal earlier this month.

“Unequal enforcement of the law is a violation of the law,” he added, “and men and women who try to expose the horrors of abortion are being unjustly persecuted for their motivations.”

The enforcement of the FACE Act is led by Clarke, who, following a report from The Daily Signal, recently admitted that she hid an arrest and its subsequent expungement from investigators when she was confirmed to her Justice Department post.

On Monday, the Department of Justice filed a lawsuit on Monday against seven pro-life activists and two pro-life organizations alleging that the pro-life organizations, Citizens for a Pro Life Society and Red Rose Rescue, as well as activists Laura Gies, Lauren Handy, Clara McDonald, Monica Miller, Christopher Moscinski, Jay Smith, and Audrey Whipple, violated the FACE Act when they sought to stop abortions from taking place at Ohio abortion clinics.

The DOJ’s complaint seeks “compensatory damages, monetary penalties and injunctive relief as provided by the FACE Act.”

Martin Cannon, senior counsel with the Thomas More Society, said in a statement this week that “hardly one week has passed since Lauren Handy was sentenced to 57 months in federal prison, and the Biden Department of Justice is already coming after her again using the FACE Act.”

“‘Red Rose Rescues’ are peaceful events where participants counsel outside the abortion business or walk in and sit with pregnant mothers in abortionists’ waiting rooms, giving them red roses and offering them the help and assistance they need to choose life—in the exact moment when they’re in dire need of compassionate support,” he explained. “These are not threatening or intimidating actions that violate the FACE Act, despite the caricature that the DOJ would like the public to believe.”