By Lisa Bourne
Heartbeat International is applauding the indictment of two individuals for vandalizing pregnancy centers in the state of Florida.
Two Florida residents were indicted by a federal grand jury “for spray-painting threats on reproductive health services facilities,” according to a Jan. 24 statement from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ).
The indictments are the first in the months-long campaign by abortion zealots to terrorize and harass pregnancy help organizations, pro-life groups, and churches following news that the U.S. Supreme Court was poised to overturn Roe v. Wade with its ruling in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization case.
Since early May, more than 100 pregnancy centers, pro-life organizations, and churches in more than 30 states have been targeted and attacked for their pro-life views.
This has included broken windows, spray painting, “If abortions aren’t safe, neither are you,” on buildings, and even centers being firebombed. The spray painting and firebombing have ties to a domestic terrorist group known as “Jane’s Revenge” which has taken credit for many of the attacks.
The indictment alleges that Caleb Freestone, 27, and Amber Smith-Stewart, 23, took part in conspiracy to prevent employees of reproductive health services facilities from providing those services, using language from the FACE Act. The defendants targeted pregnancy resource centers “and vandalized those facilities with spray-painted threats,” the DOJ statement said.
More on the indictment from the statement:
Freestone and Smith-Stewart, and other co-conspirators, are alleged to have 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.
Leaders from Heartbeat International, the largest network in the U.S. and the world, welcomed the news that an indictment had finally come in the pro-abortion attacks.
“Threatening statements and vandalized property will never deter the good and necessary work that is life-affirming pregnancy help,” said Jor-El Godsey, president of Heartbeat International. “However, such acts are detrimental to safe working conditions and consistent caring outreach to those in need.”
Heartbeat International’s General Counsel denounced the attacks on pregnancy centers as harmful to women.
“Violence against pregnancy help organizations harms women who are seeking help in the face of an unexpected pregnancy,” Danielle White said. “We applaud the Department of Justice, together with the FBI and Miami Police Department for seeking justice for these centers, their personnel, and the community they serve.
Freestone and Smith-Stewart violated the FACE Act, the indictment says, by using threats of force to intimidate and interfere with the employees of the pregnancy help center in Winter Haven because the employees were providing or trying to provide reproductive health services. The indictment also alleges that Freestone and Smith-Stewart violated the FACE Act by intentionally damaging and destroying the facility’s property because the facility provides reproductive health services.
The Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act prohibits threats of force, obstruction and property damage intended to interfere with reproductive health care services, as well as damage or destruction of property or a facility because it provides reproductive services.
The term ‘reproductive services’ has usually been used to denote abortion, and the FACE Act typically used to target pro-life demonstrations at abortion facilities, with the DOJ busy to that end, but the FACE Act protects pregnancy help centers as well, and through it attacks on those centers can be prosecuted.
As of Jan. 24, CatholicVote had tallied at least 79 attacks on pregnancy centers and pro-life groups. The group tracks attacks on Catholic churches separately and had 122 attacks on churches since the May 2 Supreme Court Dobbs leak. Life News has compiled attacks against pro-life entities and has them listed HERE. The Washington Stand has them tabulated HERE.
Pro-abortion protesters have also been targeting pregnancy center banquets and events surrounding the national March for Life for disruption as well.
Pro-life advocates and pregnancy help personnel have awaited authentic action on the part of federal authorities to address the attacks, which has included illegal protests outside Supreme Court justices’ homes.
A coalition of pro-life organizations called on the U.S Department of Justice (DOJ) to address the “ongoing violent attacks against pro-life organizations” this past fall.
CompassCare Pregnancy Services in Buffalo, New York, eventually hired its own investigator to find the abortion activists who bombed the center last June.
Meanwhile, peaceful pro-life demonstrators have been targeted with law enforcement raids, arrests and charges of violating the FACE Act for their part in prayer campaigns at abortion facilities.
The pro-abortion threats and harassment toward pro-life organizations extend beyond vandalism and violence to include attempts to legislate pregnancy centers out of operation, as well as false and inflammatory rhetoric targeting pregnancy help organizations on the part of federal lawmakers.
Freestone has been previously charged with disorderly conduct, trespassing and resisting arrest without violence, the Daily Caller reports, related to a heated debate at a July 22 Miami-Dade County School Board meeting regarding sex education in July 2022, and is involved with various left-wing climate activist groups. The report further said that Smith-Stewart’s Facebook page has numerous event advertisements for and photographs of far-left and police protests.
If convicted, Freestone and Smith-Stewart each face up to a maximum of 12 years in prison, three years of supervised release and fines of up to $350,000.
Godsey and White expressed gratitude for the indictments and expected that more will come.
“We are grateful to know that the DOJ is following through with their efforts to enforce the laws that protect pregnancy help centers,” Godsey said.
And White added that, “Given the wave of violence against pregnancy centers in the wake of the Dobbs decision, we trust that this indictment will be the first of many and pray that it will dissuade other extremists.”
Editor’s note: Heartbeat International manages Pregnancy Help News where this first appeared. Reposted with permission.