A grand jury has indicted two Florida residents for vandalizing several crisis pregnancy centers, marking the first federal charges filed in the dozens of attacks last year on pro-life facilities nationwide.
The indictment accused Caleb Freestone, 27, and Amber Smith-Stewart, 23, of participating in “a conspiracy to prevent employees of reproductive health services from providing those services” in violation of federal law, including free access to clinic entrances (FACE). ) Law, according to the Ministry of Justice.
The defendants and other co-conspirators are accused of vandalizing pro-choice graffiti at at least three Florida pro-life pregnancy centers, which provide resources for pregnant women but do not perform abortions.
A center in Winter Park was hit with messages including: “If abortions are not safe than neither are you” (sic), “We are everywhere”, “YOUR TIME IS UP!!” and “WE’RE COMING FOR YOU.”
Facilities in Hollywood and Hialeah were also targeted.
The defendants “violated the FACE Act by using threats of force to intimidate and disrupt employees at a reproductive health facility in Winter Haven because those employees provided or sought to provide reproductive health services,” the department said in a news release.
Life Choice Pregnancy Center in Winter Haven, which came under attack shortly after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade on June 24, offers free services including ultrasounds, pregnancy tests, parenting classes and post-abortion counseling.
The FACT Act prohibits threats intended to intimidate and disrupt reproductive health services, whether abortion clinics or pro-life pregnancy centers.
“The indictment further alleges that Freestone and Smith-Stewart violated the FACE Act by willfully damaging and destroying the facility’s property because the facility provides reproductive health services,” the Justice Department’s release said.
The defendants face up to a maximum of 12 years in prison, three years of supervised release and fines of up to $350,000.
Caleb Freestone and Amber Smith-Stewart are both charged with Civil Rights Conspiracy and violation of the FACE Act https://t.co/lyhp72ex00 pic.twitter.com/9OXVjqROb1
— AntifaWatch (@AntifaWatch2) 25 January 2023
At least 78 pro-life facilities have been raided since a draft opinion on the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe was leaked on May 2, but until now the Justice Department had not announced any arrests, much to the frustration of pro-life advocates who suspect pro-choice Biden administration of selective prosecution.
The group AntifaWatch claimed that both defendants were affiliated with Antifa in Miami.
A Facebook page identified as belonging to Amber Smith-Stewart of Miami includes pro-Antifa and anarchist images.
Last week, the FBI announced a $25,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the perpetrators of the attacks, some of which were carried out by activists with the radical pro-choice group Jane’s Revenge.
The case was investigated by the FBI Tampa Field Office with assistance from the Miami Police Department.