The trial for six pro-life activists accused of violating the FACE Act and civil rights conspiracy for protesting outside a Tennessee abortion facility began in federal court in Nashville.
The activists are facing charges for a protest that took place in 2021, where they prayed, sang hymns, and urged women not to get abortions.
The Justice Department pursued charges against them, arguing that they conspired to stop women from accessing “reproductive health care.”
Pro-lifers targeted by Biden administration sing hymns outside of federal courthouse in Nashville after first day of FACE Act Trual pic.twitter.com/vTDs5miFWZ
— Leif Le Mahieu (@leif_lemahieu) January 24, 2024
The trial has started with opening statements and testimonies, with the government accusing the activists of planning to block the clinic’s doors.
The defense emphasized the peaceful nature of the protest and the absence of violence or threats.
Paul Vaughn said federal law enforcement approached his front door with “guns pointed at the door, banging on the house, yelling and screaming.”
Vaughn said, “I had kids in the yard walking out to get in the car to go to school, I was about to take them to school, and other kids in the house.”
“So seeing that the easiest path to de-escalation was me in handcuffs, I stepped outside and put an end to the ranting and the banging and the yelling,” he continued.
The trial is seen as a significant moment in pro-life history, with attention drawn to the case.