On Monday, two elderly pro-life activists, 73-year-old Jean Marshall and 74-year-old Joan Bell, were convicted for violating the Federal Civil Rights Conspiracy and Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act for obstructing access to an abortion clinic in northwest Washington, D.C. 41-year-old Jonathan Darnel was also convicted.
"The defendants each face up to a maximum of 11 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of up to $350,000," the Department of Justice said in a release. "U.S. District Court Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, who presided over the trial, ordered the defendants immediately detained as required by statute. Sentencing will be scheduled at a later date."
"As the evidence at trial showed, the defendants engaged in a conspiracy to create a blockade at the reproductive health care clinic to prevent the clinic from providing, and patients from receiving, reproductive health services," the DOJ said. "As part of the conspiracy, Marshall and Bell traveled to the Washington, D.C. area to meet with Darnel and participate in a clinic blockade that was directed another co-conspirator and was broadcast on Facebook."
"According to the evidence, Marshall, and Bell were among a group that forcefully entered the clinic and set about blockading two clinic doors using their bodies, furniture, chains and ropes," the statement reads. "Once the blockade was established, Darnel – who remained outside the clinic -- live-streamed their activities on social media. The evidence also showed that the defendants violated the FACE Act by using a physical obstruction to injure, intimidate and interfere with the clinic’s employees and a patient, because they were providing or obtaining reproductive health services."
In August 2023, 28-year-old Lauren Handy, 67-year-old John Hinshaw, 61-year-old Heather Idoni, 52-year-old William Goodman, and 25-year-old Herb Geraghty were also convicted on the same counts of violating the FACE Act.
In response to the conviction, pro-life conservatives took to Twitter to lambast the ruling which could be a death sentence if the sentencing judge hands down the maximum sentence on the elderly defendants.
"My God. A DC jury just convicted 2 70+ year-old pro life activists and a DC judge immediately ordered them into custody," journalist Julie Kelly wrote. "Announced by DC US Attorney Matthew Graves whose wife is a radical pro-abortion activist."
"Pro life activists Jean Marshall (73) and Joan Bell (74) were just convicted for blocking the entrance to an abortion clinic and now face 11 years in prison," Greg Price wrote. "It's good to see the Biden DOJ removing these hardened criminals from our streets."
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