A U.S. federal district judge found four pro-life supporters guilty on Tuesday, Apr. 2, for their peaceful protest outside an abortion clinic in Tennessee in 2021.

As the Daily Citizen previously reported, the charges stem from the pro-life activists’ blockade of Carafem Health Center Clinic in Mt. Juliet, Tennessee, on March 5, 2021.

The activists stood peacefully outside the clinic entrance and began to pray and sing Christian hymns. Police demanded the activists leave – some complied, while others refused to do so.

You can watch video of the peaceful protest below:


The four recently convicted pro-life supporters include: Eva Edl, 87; Eva Zastro, 24; James Zastro, 25; and Paul Place, 24. The National Catholic Register notes that Eva Edl is a “well-known pro-life activist and a survivor of a communist concentration camp who fled Soviet-controlled Eastern Europe.”

According to a press release from the U.S. Department of Justice, the federal judge found each defendant guilty of a violation of the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act (FACE Act), 18 U.S.C. § 248.

“Evidence presented at trial proved that the defendants violated the FACE Act by using physical obstruction over the course of several hours to interfere with the clinic’s employees and a patient, because the clinic was providing, and the patient sought, reproductive health services,” the DOJ said.

“The clinic was located on the second floor of a medical building. The defendants and others filled the interior hallway to the clinic. These defendants positioned themselves directly in front of the main clinic door for over two hours, physically blocking access to the clinic, resulting in no patients accessing the clinic. Police requested that the defendants leave or move multiple times, but after more than two hours, these defendants were arrested.”

The four activists face up to a maximum of six months in prison, five years of supervised release, and fines of up to $10,000.

The FACE Act under 18 U.S. Code § 248 says:

[Whoever] by force or threat of force or by physical obstruction, intentionally injures, intimidates or interferes with or attempts to injure, intimidate or interfere with any person because that person is or has been, or in order to intimidate such person or any other person or any class of persons from, obtaining or providing reproductive health services [violates federal law].

Earlier this year, six other pro-life activists involved in the same protest were found guilty under the FACE Act; they each face a maximum of 11 years in prison and fines of up to $260,000. The Thomas More Legal Society is appealing the judgement in that case.

On the same day the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June 2022, U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland released a statement saying the DOJ “strongly disagree[d]” with the court’s ruling, calling it a “devastating blow to reproductive freedom.”

“The Justice Department will work tirelessly to protect and advance reproductive freedom,” the attorney general promised, adding the department would use the FACE Act to protect access to abortion clinics.

Since then, Attorney General Garland and the DOJ have made good on their promise, prosecuting pro-life supporters for infractions that occurred even before Roe was overturned.

At the same time, the DOJ has prosecuted zero pro-choice activists who have perpetrated 357 attacks against Catholic churches since the Dobbs decision was first leaked.

Because of this disparity, some lawmakers have recently called for Congress to repeal the FACE Act. U.S. Senator Mike Lee and Congressman Chip Roy have introduced legislation to do just that, calling the FACE Act “unconstitutional.”

“The Biden DOJ has weaponized this constitutionally suspect law against pro-life sidewalk counselors while failing to protect pregnancy centers and churches from violent attacks,” Sen. Lee said in proposing the legislation. “It’s time to repeal the FACE Act.”

It is unjust for our nation’s top law enforcement agencies to target peaceful individuals because of their pro-life beliefs, while letting violent pro-choice individuals who attack churches and pregnancy resource centers roam free. It’s past time for this prejudiced disparity to end.

If you are experiencing an unexpected pregnancy and want to learn more about your options, visit My Choice Network.


Related articles and resources:

My Choice Network

Counseling Consultation & Referrals

I’m Pregnant, Now What?

Dealing With Unplanned Pregnancy

Elderly Pro-Life Women Face 11 Years Jail Time for Protest at Abortion Clinic

Five Pro-Life Supporters Found Guilty of Violating FACE Act for Protest at Abortion Clinic

300 Attacks on Catholic Churches – In Less Than 3 Years; 82 Attacks on Pregnancy Resource Centers – In Less Than a Year

Six Pro-Life Supporters Found Guilty, Face 11 Years in Prison for Peaceful Abortion Clinic Protest


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