Pro Life Activists Sentenced To Prison For Peacefully Protesting

( – Pro-life activists who peacefully protested outside of an abortion facility in Tennessee in 2021 could face up to 11 years in prison after they were found guilty on January 30th.

Six of the 11 people charged in October 2022 were found guilty on January 30th of violating Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE), a misdemeanor, and conspiracy against rights, which is a felony that carries fines up to $250,000 and an 11-year prison sentence. An appointee of former president Bill Clinton, Judge Aleta Trauger, oversaw the case at the Fred D. Thompson courthouse in Nashville, Tennessee. The six activists found guilty are Michigan resident Heather Idoni, 58; Calvin Zastrow, 57; Mississippi resident Coleman Boyd, 51; Tennessee residents Chester Gallagher, 73, and Paul Vaughn, 55; and Virginia resident Dennis Green, 56.

Four of the 11 activists have not gone to trial and were only charged with violation of FACE, which carries a fine of up to $10,000 and a one-year prison sentence. The four activists include Arkansas resident Eva Zastro, 24; Missouri resident James Zastro, 25; South Carolina resident Eva Edl, 87; and Tennessee resident Paul Place, 24.

In 2023, the final activist of 11, Michigan resident Caroline Davis, 24, took a plea deal, agreeing to testify for the government.

The charges stem from a March 5th, 2021, incident at the Carafem Health Center Clinic, where the activists took part in a “blockade.” According to the attorneys for the activists, they were conducting what they called a “rescue,” which was live-streamed on Facebook. On the second floor of the building where the clinic is located, the group gathered to pray, sing hymns, and urge women not to go through with abortions.

Steve Crampton, the Thomas More Society Senior Counsel and attorney for Vaughn, said the incident “was a peaceful demonstration by entirely peaceable citizens.” Vaughn’s attorneys have stated he will appeal his verdict to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.

Sentencing for the six activists found guilty is scheduled for July.

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