A group of five Republican Congress members have called out Joe Biden’s Justice Department for its politicized prosecution of nine pro-life advocates for allegedly blocking the entrance to an abortion clinic in Washington, D.C.
Federal law enforcement officers arrested the activists last month. They had assembled at the abortion center to offer information and help to families seeking abortions. The DOJ has charged them with engaging in a “conspiracy to create a blockade” that was intended to prevent the clinic from providing “reproductive health services.”
The charges also allege that each defendant “forcefully entered the clinic” and blocked two doors using “their bodies, furniture, chains, and ropes.” Each of the activists charged could face up to 11 years in federal prison and fines up to $350,000.
Reps. Paul Gosar (R-AZ), Ralph Norman (R-SC), Mary Miller (R-IL), Randy Weber (R-TX), and Jeff Duncan (R-SC) wrote to Attorney General Merrick Garland on Friday saying that the “non-violent advocates for the protection of life” are being treated by the DOJ “worse than violent felons.”
The letter says that the charges and prosecutions are “abusive, unequal, and punitive.” The Representatives argue that even if the factual allegations are accurate, the “charge of trespass” would be a proper fit to the conduct.
The letter from the Republicans asks Garland to detail why the DOJ waited more than a year to pursue indictments in the case and how many other times the federal government has pursued charges of “conspiracy of rights violations” or for alleged violation of the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act of 1994.
Lauren Handy organized the assembly and was arrested when police say they received a tip that led to the discovery of the remains of five aborted babies at her residence. The arrest received substantial media attention, with Handy saying she obtained the remains as the result of an anonymous truck driver telling her he discovered them in the course of his work. He allegedly found the bodies while loading boxes at the Washington Surgi-Clinic that were bound for the Curtis Bay Medical Waste incineration plant.
Handy’s group, the Progressive Anti-Abortion Uprising (PAAU) said that the remains were of children of “late gestational ages” and bore evidence of injuries that would indicate violations of the federal Partial Birth Abortion Act and Born Alive Infants Protection Act.