Pro-life activist Paul Vaughn, who was convicted for violation of the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act, was sentenced Tuesday in Nashville, Tennessee, to three years of supervised release including six months home detention, avoiding prison time.

The Department of Justice had asked for prison for a year and a day, saying in a sentencing memo that encountering pro-life activists was traumatic for patients and anything less than a year would fail to address the seriousness of the offense.

Mr. Vaughn is among six who were found guilty in January of violating the FACE Act on March 5, 2021, at an abortion clinic in Mount Juliet, Tennessee. The abortion provider has since closed. The FACE Act prohibits interference with obtaining or providing abortions.

Steve Crampton, Thomas More Society Senior Counsel and attorney for Paul Vaughn, said he was pleased the judge showed leniency but the conviction is still an injustice.

“Paul Vaughn and his co-defendants stand convicted of defending the inalienable right to life,” Mr. Crampton said in a statement, adding that the charges should never have been filed.

Three other participants in the case will be sentenced July 3: Calvin Zastrow a Michigan preacher; Denny Green of Virginia, director of Life and Liberty Ministries; and Coleman Boyd, an emergency room doctor and father of 13, who lost his job after the Tennessee conviction.

Two other participants, Heather Idoni of Michigan, who is currently in prison for another FACE Act charge, and Chester Gallagher of Tennessee, will be sentenced for the Tennessee case after their Michigan trial for yet another FACE Act violation.

The group went to the hallway in front of the abortion clinic that day and read from the Bible, sang church hymns, and talked to women. Some participants blocked the door to the business, but Mr. Vaughn was down the hallway away from the door.

Mr. Crampton described the event as a peaceful demonstration, oriented toward persuading expecting mothers not to abort their babies.

“For his witness to life, the FBI raided Paul’s home at gunpoint in front of his wife and children, then brought down the full weight of the United States government to prosecute Paul,“ he said. ”We will continue to advocate tirelessly for pro-lifers like Paul.”

FACE Act charges have grown more frequent since the Supreme Court’s June 24, 2022 Dobbs Decision, which overturned Roe V Wade and sent abortion policy back to the states.

Days after that decision, on July 8, 2022, President Biden issued an executive order for his administration to address “the heightened risk” of getting an abortion. He formed the Reproductive Rights Task Force, a Justice Department-led group focused, in part, on enforcing the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act.

Juat after the Dobbs decision, the Carafem Health Center in Mount Juliet paused in-person services “due to the state’s complete ban on abortion,” according to Carafem’s website.

On Aug. 25, 2022, Tennessee made abortion illegal, allowing rare exceptions only to prevent the death of the woman or serious, irreversible medical harm.

The defendants were charged in October 2022, after the abortions they were trying to stop were essentially outlawed, and the business they stood near was closed.

Thomas More Society attorneys are preparing an appeal to overturn Mr. Vaughn’s conviction and challenge the constitutionality of the FACE Act.

At the Faith and Freedom Coalition in Washington, D.C. former President Donald Trump vowed to free jailed pro-life activists if elected.

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