Pro-life protestors found guilty of federal charges after invading DC reproductive health care clinic in 2020

Three pro-life activists who protested and blocked access to a Washington, D.C., reproductive health care services clinic in October 2020 were found guilty of federal charges by a jury on Monday.

Jonathan Darnell, 41, of Arlington, Virginia, said in a press release from the Department of Justice. Jean Marshall, 73, of Kingston, Massachusetts. Joan Bell, 74, of Montague, New Jersey, was each convicted of federal civil rights conspiracy and violating the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act.

According to the Justice Department, Marshall and Bell traveled to Washington, D.C., to meet with Darnell and participate in a clinic blockade coordinated and livestreamed on Facebook by another co-conspirator.

Pro-life participants could face up to 10 years in prison: ‘political witch hunt’

Jonathan Darnell scheduled to go on trial in September on federal charges over 2020 ‘Rescue Action’ demonstration at Washington, D.C., abortion clinic (Screenshot, Fox News Digital)

During the lockdown on October 22, 2020, the defendants are accused of setting up a blockade of the clinic and preventing the clinic from providing reproductive health services.

Prosecutors said Marshall and Bell were part of a group that forced entry into the clinic and used furniture, chains, rope and human remains to block two doors.

Darnell remained outside the clinic and streamed the incident on social media.

Pro-life activist found guilty of conspiracy in 2020 ‘rescue operation’ at DC clinic

courtroom and gavel

Inside the courtroom where you can see the gavel. (St. Petersburg)

In that case, all three defendants violated the FACE Act after using physical interference to harm, intimidate, and interfere with clinic employees and patients receiving reproductive health services.

U.S. District Judge Colleen Koller Kotelly, who presided over the trial of Marshall, Bell, and Darnell, ordered the immediate detention of all three defendants as required by statute.

Sentencing for the three men is scheduled for a later date, and each faces up to 11 years in prison, suspended for three years, and fines of up to $350,000.

Pro-lifers should support a federal 15-week abortion ban.

Pro-life protests in DC in April

Pro-life activists participate in the 49th annual March for Life march in front of the U.S. Supreme Court on January 21, 2022 in Washington, DC2. Activists from across the country gathered at the rally to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion nationwide. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

In August, five co-conspirators were arrested, including Lauren Handy, 28, of Alexandria, Virginia. John Hinshaw, 67, of Levittown, New York. Heather Idoni, 61, of Linden, Michigan. William Goodman, 52 years old, lives in the Bronx, New York. Herb Geraghty, 25, of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, was convicted on the same charges, and another co-defendant, Jay Smith, also pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 10 months in prison, suspended for three years.

Prosecutors allege in all cases that pro-life activists are under federal law enacted under former President Bill Clinton that prohibits physical violence, threats of force, or intentional damage to property to prevent access to or access to abortion services. It was alleged to be a violation of the FACE Act of 1994.

Speaking before the trial, Darnell said: he will plead not guilty.


Darnell, who professes to be a Christian, said in an interview with Fox News Digital: “I am absolutely innocent of the charges that have been brought against me. It’s quite ironic that I’m in this position. ” he said. “Still, if a jury, even by mistake, finds me guilty of FACE, I would be honored, because children deserve to be protected.”

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