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Rep. Chip Roy and other Republicans seek to repeal FACE Act after more pro-life rescuers targeted by Biden DOJ are convicted and thrown in jail

Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Three more peaceful opponents of America's abortion regime were found guilty Friday of violating the Freedom of Access to Clinics Entrances Act and of felony conspiracy against rights by a D.C. jury.

Jean Marshall, 73, of Kingston, Massachusetts, 74-year-old Joan Bell of Montague, New Jersey, and 41-year-old Jonathan Darnel of Arlington, Virginia, each face up to 11 years in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, and a fine of up to $350,000.

U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, the Clinton-appointed judge presiding over the case, immediately had all three pro-lifers thrown in jail, just as she did with another five Progressive Anti-Abortion Uprising protesters three weeks earlier. The pro-lifers will remain detained until their sentencing, which has yet to be scheduled.

The Biden Department of Justice's heavy-handed approach to the peaceful pro-lifers and the possibility that some could ultimately die in jail has prompted significant backlash.

Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) and other Republicans are now advancing legislation to repeal the FACE Act, and former President Donald Trump, who recently criticized the efforts of pro-lifers, has committed to issuing pardons if elected next year.

What's the background?

The newly convicted pro-life advocates are members of PAAU, a leftist activist group that acknowledges there is no group today more oppressed than the unborn.

PAAU notes on its website that it is "committed to the progressive feminist values of equality, non-violence, and nondiscrimination through an anti-capitalist lens. ... We're committed to unparalleled bravery and to always challenging the oppressive status quo. We're committed to ending elective abortion to matter how long it takes."

Marshall, Bell, and Darnel protested on Oct. 22, 2020, at the Washington Surgi-Clinic, operated by the infamous late-term abortionist Cesare Santangelo. They were joined by the five pro-life activists similarly convicted of FACT Act violations on Aug. 29 in Kollar-Kotelly's court.

The FACE Act prohibits anyone from obstructing the entrance to an abortion clinic or intimidating or interfering with a woman attempting to have her unborn baby exterminated. While it applies also to protesters interfering with pro-life pregnancy centers, the Daily Signal indicated that 26 pro-lifers were charged with FACE Act violations last year, yet not a single leftist has similarly been charged.

According to President Joe Biden's admittedly pro-abortion Department of Justice, the trio "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."

While Darnel livestreamed their protest, Marshall and Bell, who had traveled to Washington, D.C., to participate in the protest, supposedly entered the clinic and blocked two doors "using their bodies, furniture, chains and ropes."

Still in heart and conscience free

Bernadette Patel, a pro-life activist who was not involved in the rescue attempt on Oct. 22, 2020, told the Catholic News Agency that upon hearing the jury's verdict, "Joan Bell's children were in the audience shaking and crying."

Although her family was upset, Bell remained defiant.

"Joan took off her red shirt to reveal a bright yellow shirt with the words 'Pro Life' written on it," said Patel.

"Jonathan Darnel gave a wave before being escorted out," continued Patel. "Jean Marshall brought a doctor's note saying that she was scheduled for a hip replacement, but the judge refused to keep her under house arrest and all were taken away. Chris Bell [Joan's husband] teared up as he went to his car."

Darnel, an avowed Christian, told Fox News Digital, "I am definitely not guilty of the charges leveled against me, which is rather ironic that I should find myself in this position. ... Nevertheless, if a jury finds me guilty of FACE even erroneously, it would be an honor because the kids are worthy of protection."

Republicans take action

Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) introduced legislation Tuesday to repeal the FACE Act, cosponsored by Republican Reps. Chris Smith (N.J.), Bob Good (Va.), Andrew Clyde (Ga.), Jim Banks (Ind.), Anna Paulina Luna (Fla.), and Doug Lamborn (Co.).

Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) has indicated he will follow suit in the Senate, reported the Daily Signal.

"Free Americans should never live in fear of their government targeting them because of their beliefs," Rep. Roy told the Daily Signal. "Yet Biden's Department of Justice has brazenly weaponized the FACE Act against normal, everyday Americans across the political spectrum, simply because they are pro-life."

"Our Constitution separates power between the federal government and the states for a reason, and we ignore that safeguard at our own peril," continued the Texas Republican. "The FACE Act is an unconstitutional federal takeover of state police powers; it must be repealed."

Earlier this year, Roy joined several other Republicans in demanding that Congress withhold funding for the enforcement of the FACE Act and "seriously consider repealing the statute in its entirety."

Andrew Bath of the Thomas More Society, the legal firm that has represented a number of the pro-life activists now facing possible 11-year sentences, stressed, "The FACE Act has been weaponized by this administration. ... Even if enforced honestly, the FACE Act is unconstitutional. If our constitutional system of separation of powers and the ideal of citizen self-government are to be preserved, the FACE Act must be repealed."

The executive director of PAAU said in a statement concerning the Republican endeavor to repeal the FACE Act, "This is a monumental step towards justice for our preborn siblings and Rescuers alike. The FACE Act has been flying under the radar for decades, and only now when it has been truly challenged has the truth about it come to light."

"Those fighting to sustain abortion violence and their allies in The White House will never be able to stop the Rescue movement, because Rescue is love, and the preborn have a right to be Rescued."

After the trio's conviction Friday — and just hours before he threw pro-life advocates under the bus and called a six-week abortion ban a "terrible mistake" during an NBC interview — former President Donald Trump told the 2023 Pray Vote Stand Summit that he would pardon the pro-life activists targeted by the Biden DOJ.

"Marxists and Stalinists in the administration got a Washington, D.C., jury to convict five pro-life activists who are now facing up to 11 years in prison for simple acts of protest," said Trump, not accounting for the three additional activists convicted that day.

"Under Biden, others are being sentenced to 10, 15, and even 20 years in prison for retribution for their political beliefs, while Antifa and other groups burn down cities like Portland, like Minneapolis. … They kill people, they loot, they plunder, and they go free," continued Trump. "The political repression is immoral and it's very, very un-American and it's very dangerous."

"To reverse these cruel travesties of justice, tonight I’m announcing that the moment I win the election, I will appoint a special task force to rapidly review the cases of every political prisoner who's been unjustly persecuted by the Biden administration ... so that I can study the situation very quickly and sign their pardons or commutations on day one," said Trump. "Never again will the federal government be used to target the religious believers."

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