A grand jury has indicted two Florida residents on charges of vandalizing multiple 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 engaging in “a conspiracy to prevent employees of reproductive health services from providing those services” in violation of federal law, including the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances [FACE] Act, according to the Justice Department.
The defendants and other co-conspirators are accused of vandalizing with pro-choice graffiti at least three Florida pro-life pregnancy centers, which provide resources to pregnant women but not abortions.
A center in Winter Park was hit with messages including: “If abortions aren’t safe than niether are you” [sic], “We are everywhere,” “YOUR TIME IS UP!!” and “WE’RE COMING for U.”
Facilities in Hollywood and Hialeah were also targeted.
The defendants “violated the FACE Act by using threats of force to intimidate and interfere with the employees of a reproductive health services facility in Winter Haven because those employees were providing or seeking to provide reproductive health services,” said the department in a Tuesday press release.
The Life Choice Pregnancy Center in Winter Haven, which was attacked shortly after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade on June 24, provides no-cost services including ultrasounds, pregnancy tests, parenting classes and post-abortion counseling.
The FACT Act prohibits threats intended to intimidate and interfere with 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 intentionally damaging and destroying the facility’s property because the facility provides reproductive health services,” said the Justice Department release.
The defendants face up to a maximum of 12 years in prison, three years of supervised release and fines of up to $350,000.
At least 78 pro-life facilities have been attacked since a draft opinion of the high court’s decision overturning Roe was leaked May 2, but until now the Justice Department had announced no arrests, much to the frustration of pro-life advocates, who suspect the 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 in 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.