Two left-wing activists, including one who says she’s part of Antifa, have been charged with painting threatening messages on pro-life facilities in Florida.
Amber Smith-Stewart, 23, and Caleb Freestone, 27, were indicted by a federal grand jury on conspiracy against rights and violations of the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act.
According to court documents, the pair “attacked” three facilities that provide pregnancy testing, ultrasounds, and other services, including an affiliate of the Archdiocese of Miami.
Smith-Stewart and Freestone, along with unidentified conspirators, allegedly spray-painted in mid-2022, “If abortions aren’t SAFE then neither are you” and “YOUR TIME IS UP!!”
Some of the language is the same as that used by an anonymous group called Jane’s Revenge, which issued threats against pro-life facilities following news that the U.S. Supreme Court was planning to strike down Roe v. Wade.
The facilities that were targeted are in three separate towns in Florida—Winter Haven, Hollywood, and Hialeah.
The acts violated the FACE Act because the threats were meant to intimidate workers who provide reproductive health services, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) stated. The FACE Act is typically used to prosecute pro-life activists protesting at or outside abortion clinics.
U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland announced on Sept. 6, 2021, that the DOJ would “not tolerate violence against those seeking to obtain or provide reproductive health services, physical obstruction or property damage in violation of the FACE Act.”
The charges are the first brought against left-wing activists since the spate of violence against pro-life facilities started after the Supreme Court’s draft decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization was leaked in the spring of 2022. Dozens of facilities were vandalized in the wake of the decision, including the Archdiocese of Miami’s Respect Life office in Hollywood.
The office was vandalized over the 2022 Memorial Day weekend with the same spray-painted slogan, “If abortions aren’t SAFE then neither are you,” and the words “Jane’s Revenge,” as well as symbols of far-left network Antifa, according to an image posted by the organization.
“We believe the intention of this vandalism was to scare and intimidate us,” Rebecca Brady, archdiocesan director of Respect Life, said at the time. “Respect Life Ministry will not back down. We will continue extending the love and mercy of Christ to all regardless of creed. We also now have the opportunity to learn [what] it means to love our enemies.”
Smith-Stewart’s Facebook page stated “Antifa” before the charges were unveiled. It still hosts a picture of the group’s flag. Freestone told a broadcaster in 2022 that he was involved with Extinction Rebellion and Whatever It Takes.
The latter states that it’s a group of activists “demanding our government protect our reproductive and human right” and organized a protest at the Heartbeat of Miami’s gala at Trump National Doral Miami in October 2022 while calling the pro-life center “a Fake Pregnancy Help clinic that uses free tests and ultrasounds to lure folx (predominately the usual targeted demographics like immigrants and BIPOC working class) into a coercive system of forced birth propaganda.” BIPOC stands for black, indigenous, and people of color.
Activists with the group entered the gala and shouted that the organization was “funding terrorism,” according to a Facebook post.
Heartbeat of Miami is a network of pregnancy clinics that provide services for pregnant women.
Freestone was arrested for disrupting a school board meeting in Miami-Dade County on July 20, 2022.
Smith-Stewart didn’t respond by press time to a request by The Epoch Times for comment, and Freestone’s contact information couldn’t be located. Lawyers for the defendants weren’t listed on the court docket.
Each defendant faces up to 12 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and fines of up to $350,000 if convicted.
The indictments came after FBI agents, with assistance from Miami police officers, investigated, according to the DOJ. The FBI recently offered a $25,000 reward for information on pregnancy center attacks.
“Today’s announcement reflects the FBI’s commitment to vigorously pursue investigations into crimes against pregnancy resource centers, faith-based organizations, and reproductive health clinics across the country,” FBI Director Christopher Wray said at the time. “We will continue to work closely with our national, state, and local law enforcement partners to hold responsible anyone who uses extremist views to justify their criminal actions.”
From The Epoch Times