A pro-life father of 11 said the Department of Justice’s prosecution of him and fellow pro-lifers has energized him to fight even harder against abortion.
A federal jury voted last week to convict Paul Vaughn and five others of violations of the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act due to their protest in March 2021 of an abortion facility in Tennessee. Pro-life activists sat in the hallway of an office building outside of an abortion facility, singing hymns and sitting peacefully.
The FBI arrested Vaughn in October 2022 during an armed morning raid on his house. It followed a similar raid on the home of pro-life activist Mark Houck in Pennsylvania just a few weeks prior.
The activists each face nearly 10.5 years in prison and hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines. Four others await misdemeanor charges, and another, Caroline Davis, flipped against her fellow pro-lifers to act as a witness on behalf of the federal government.
But Vaughn, who described himself as “marginally on the sidelines” of the pro-life movement prior to the arrest, said the trial has done the opposite of deterring him during an interview with the Daily Wire.
“We were doing a little bit of sidewalk counseling, we weren’t trying to do some national event, we weren’t trying to be a big name, we’re just trying to be Christians and just going out and helping a person here and helping a person there, just live our life in such ways to honor God,” Vaughn said.
“But if anything, what this has done is I’m ready to start a national organization, I’m ready to go head-to-head with these people,” he said. “If they want to bring me into the fight, they should have thought before they swung because God is big and he is powerful.”
Sentencing is scheduled for July 2 and appeals are already planned.
“This was a peaceful demonstration by entirely peaceable citizens—filled with prayer, hymn-singing, and worship—oriented toward persuading expecting mothers not to abort their babies,” Vaughn’s attorney Steve Crampton with the Thomas More Society stated in a news release sent to Human Life Review.
“Unfortunately, the Biden Department of Justice decided to characterize Paul Vaughn’s peaceful actions as a felony ‘conspiracy against rights,’ to intimidate and punish Paul and other pro-life people and people of faith,” Crampton said.
President Joe Biden’s Justice Department has faced criticism for what appears to be unfair enforcement of the FACE Act, as well as turning typical misdemeanors, such as trespassing, into federal cases.
Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke has called pregnancy resource centers “fake,” undermining confidence in her ability to treat pro-lifers and abortion activists equally.
In Houck’s case, for example, the Justice Department found an old state misdemeanor charge that had already been tossed by a state judge, arrested Houck in front of his family, and ultimately lost in a federal court.
Vaughn’s attorneys predict the FACE Act will eventually fall due to legislation or court rulings.
Given the federal government’s abuse of the law, the FACE Act, like Roe v. Wade, should be tossed, a relic of a period of American history in which activist justices created a “right” to abortion.