Signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1994, the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act, better known as the FACE Act, has been cited by the Biden Justice Department to justify a mounting number of charges against non-violent pro-life activists.
On the Department of Justice’s website, they claim that the law which “prohibits threats of force, obstruction and property damage intended to interfere with reproductive health care services” is “not about abortions.” Instead, the “statute protects all … facilities that provide reproductive health services, including pro-life [pregnancy resource centers] and any other pregnancy support facility providing reproductive health care.”
Here is where a few of the pro-life Americans charged under the FACE Act currently stand.
What he was indicted for: Houck, a Catholic father of seven from Bucks County, PA, was serving as a pro-life sidewalk advocate at a peaceful demonstration outside a Philadelphia Planned Parenthood in October 2021. He was accompanied by his minor son who was 12 years old at the time. A man who had volunteered for the abortion facility came up to Houck’s son and started to harass him, prompting Houck to shove the man out of the way in defense. For this, the Biden DOJ charged Houck with two counts of violating the FACE Act. If convicted, he would have received a sentence of up to 11 years in a federal prison. In September 2022, dozens of FBI agents arrested Houck and raided his residence, waking up his sleeping wife and children. “I have seven babies in there,” he pleaded, but the FBI proceeded anyway.
Where he is now: A jury acquitted Houck of all charges on January 30, 2023. In the following weeks, he has granted several interviews documenting his experience in full detail, including with Erika Ahern of CatholicVote’s LOOPcast. He attended President Biden’s February 7 State of the Union Address on the invitation of pro-life Congressman Scott Perry, R-PA.
Father Fidelis Moscinski
What he was indicted for: A Franciscan Friar of the Renewal, Father Christopher Fidelis Moscinski placed bicycle locks and chains on the gate of a Planned Parenthood in Hampstead, NY in July 2022. A few months later, he was charged with blocking the abortion facility’s entrance in violation of the FACE Act. Breon Peace, the Biden-appointed U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, alleged that Father Fidelis “attempted to prevent women from accessing their legal right to vital reproductive and pregnancy services.”
Where he is now: Father Fidelis was convicted of violating the FACE Act in late January. Unrelated trespassing charges against the priest in New Jersey were dropped in December 2022. He is scheduled to be sentenced on April 24, the Catholic feast day of St. Fidelis, and faces up to six months in prison.
What she was indicted for: Lauren Handy, a Catholic, is the Director of Activism for Progressive Anti-Abortion Uprising (PAAU), a left-wing pro-life organization whose leadership includes both Christians and atheists. Handy is best known for helping expose the controversial abortionist Cesare Santangelo, who was nicknamed “The Butcher of D.C” after his practice was found to have killed five viable unborn children, and who has been accused of selling the remains of aborted babies to an energy company. The Biden DOJ indicted Handy in March 2022 along with eight other pro-life activists for organizing an alleged “blockade” at Santangelo’s abortion facility. A tenth activist, Herb Geraghty, was indicted months later. If convicted, Handy and her co-defendants face up to 11 years in prison, along with a fine of up to $350,000. Handy pleaded not guilty.
Where she is now: Handy’s case is still ongoing. She is still working for PAAU, and attended the recent March For Life. Earlier this week, she appeared in federal court after she was secretly recorded by an undercover FBI operative at her place of work. The government attorneys who are prosecuting Handy allege that the activism plans she was discussing at her private work meeting sufficed as violations of her ban from entering abortion provider locations. The U.S. District Judge she appeared before argued that Handy is “skirting” her pretrial release agreement by “sending others to do what she cannot do.” Handy’s lawyers are currently arguing that her and her co-defendants’ charges should be dismissed, given that they were “implicitly based upon a constitutional right to abortion” that was nullified by the Supreme Court decision that repealed Roe v. Wade shortly after her indictment.
What she was indicted for: Geraghty is an activist from the Pittsburgh area who is the Executive Director of Rehumanize International, a pro-life and anti-war organization. An avowed atheist, she also helped restart the Rainbow Pro-Life Alliance, a group for pro-lifers who identify as LGBTQ+ (formerly known as the Pro-Life Alliance of Gays and Lesbians). Geraghty is the tenth defendant indicted for allegedly “blockading” Santangelo’s abortion facility in violation of the FACE Act. Following her indictment, Geraghty tweeted that she was “doing alright.” She added: “It is clear that the Biden administration intends to use the DOJ as a weapon against political dissidents.”
Where she is now: Geraghty, whose case is ongoing, remains active on social media and involved in various events and demonstrations in defense of the unborn. She attended the 2023 March for Life together with other left-of-center pro-life activists, including Lauren Handy.
Chester Gallagher and Mount Juliet, TN Activists
What they were indicted for: Eleven pro-life activists, ranging in age from 24 to 87, were indicted by a grand jury in Nashville, TN last October for violating the FACE Act. Chester Gallagher was an organizer of a “rescue” of unborn children, in his words. The Biden DOJ called the incident a “blockade” and alleged that the demonstrators “used force” to prevent two people from entering an abortion facility in Mount Juliet, TN during the March 2021 event. Seven of the eleven defendants, including Gallagher, were also charged with “conspiracy” for advertising their protest on social media. Similar to Houck and Handy, Gallagher faces up to 11 years in prison and a fine of up to a quarter-million dollars.
Where they are now: On February 22, 2022, the DOJ again indicted Gallagher along with seven other pro-life activists, some of whom were also indicted for the Mount Juliet incident. This time, Gallagher and his companions were accused of creating “blockades” at two abortion locations in Michigan in 2020. Like in Gallagher’s other federal indictment, the DOJ claimed he used “physical obstruction to intimidate and interfere with the Sterling Heights clinic’s employees and patients.”
However, the FACE Act was cited once-to indict a pair of pro-abortion vandals in Florida.
Caleb Freestone and Amber Smith-Stewart
What they were indicted for: In what were described by some sources as the “first-ever” FACE Act indictments of pro-abortion activists attacking pro-life pregnancy resource centers, the Biden DOJ charged two Floridians on January 24, 2023. Caleb Freestone and Amber Smith-Stewart vandalized and threatened three pro-life pregnancy resource centers across the Sunshine State soon after the Supreme Court’s decision overturning Roe v. Wade was leaked in May 2022. They spray-painted threats to violence including “WE’RE COMING for U,” “YOUR TIME IS UP!!” and “If abortions aren’t safe then neither are you.” They both face up to 12 years in prison and fines as high as $350,000. When the DOJ announced the charges, the agency referred to the attacks as being committed against providers of “reproductive health services.”
Where they are now: A month after they were indicted, Freestone and Smith-Stewart’s case is still ongoing.