(Molly Bruns, Headline USA) The Department of Justice has charged 11 pro-life activists with violations of the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act for allegedly blocking the entrance of an abortion clinic in 2021.
According to The Daily Signal, the activists were arrested on the day of the blockade but were released on bail for misdemeanor charges later that day.
In a recent press release United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Tennessee announced that seven of the activists are charged with “conspiracy against rights secured by the FACE Act, and committing FACE Act violations.”
It was reported by a friend of one of the activists, Chester Gallagher, that the FBI raided his home with “guns drawn.”
The friend, identified as Hurley, said he was not physically present but was alerted by his friends about the raid.
“[Gallagher] happened to be in South Carolina, but the neighbors reported and then [the FBI] ended up coming to talk to the neighbors to get his cellphone number, to find out where he was,” Hurley said.
“He was in South Carolina, immediately offered to turn himself in to the U.S. Marshals’ office, which they said he could turn himself in tomorrow, so he’ll be turning himself in tomorrow morning.”
Gallagher reportedly used social media to promote pro-life events in the Nashville area.
The Justice Department release claims that he and his “co-conspirators” used “Facebook to coordinate travel and logistics and to identify other participants for the blockade.”
Facebook did not respond to a request for comment by The Daily Signal as to whether it provided intelligence related to the charges.
If the activists are convicted, those charged with conspiracy could spend 11 years in prison and face fines up to $250,000.
This raid closely follows a first FBI raid and arrest of Mark Houck, a Catholic father and pro-life activist who was arrested by armed FBI agents in front of his family for an already-dismissed assault charge.
“Serious questions need to be asked of the Attorney General. What was he thinking? Why did they do this obscene show of force against a peaceful pillar of the community?” said Houck’s attorney.