Pro-life father of 11 avoids prison time sought by Biden DOJ

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[Editor’s note: This story originally was published by The Daily Signal.]

By Mary Margaret Olohan
The Daily Signal

A Tennessee judge ruled Tuesday that pro-life activist Paul Vaughn will not serve time in prison for trying to stop abortions from taking place at a Tennessee abortion clinic.

President Joe Biden’s Justice Department had sought a year in prison for the pro-life activist, The Daily Wire reported, noting that the judge instead gave Vaughn merely three years supervised release.

“We rejoice in God’s plans,” said Vaughn in a statement issued by his legal firm, the Thomas More Society. “Because this is at the heart a spiritual battle, we are thankful to have a strong advocate in the Thomas More Society. Not only are they experts at law, but they deeply understand the spiritual battle raging across our land.”

“We will appeal to have this unlawful use of the law overturned,” he added. “We must stand and fight for what is right. We cannot bow down to the lie. Laws have to be grounded in truth. They have to align with the ultimate lawgiver, who is Christ our Lord.

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“The false narratives plaguing our nation will fall when we stand up to them. That is what this case is about, and I’m ever thankful to have a legal team who understands that truth and who is willing to fight for it all the way to the Supreme Court, if necessary.”

The FBI arrested Vaughn, a pro-life father of 11 children, in October 2022 and charged him with “conspiracy against rights secured by the FACE Act, and committing FACE Act violations.” Vaughn and 10 other activists were charged in connection to their 2021 “blockade” of an abortion clinic in Mount Juliet, Tennessee.

“These defendants are being held accountable for unlawfully obstructing access to reproductive health services,” DOJ Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke said at the time of their January 2024 conviction. “The Justice Department will continue to enforce the FACE Act to protect the rights of those who provide and those who seek access to such services.”

Vaughn previously told The Daily Signal that the FBI came to the door of his home, “guns pointed at the door, banging on the house, yelling and screaming, ‘Open up. FBI,’ that kind of thing.”

“When I opened the door and saw the guns pointed at me, I asked them what they wanted, who they were looking for, and they said they wanted me,” he explained. “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.”

After the FBI handcuffed him and put him in their vehicle, he said, his wife came outside. She had been in the back of their home with their 18-month-old baby.

Video provided to The Daily Signal by Vaughn, taken by his wife, shows FBI agents outside the family’s home. Vaughn’s wife follows them, videotaping their conversation.

“I want to know why you were banging on my door with a gun,” she said. “Are you not going to tell me anything?”

“No, we are not,” one agent replied, while another added, “I tried.”

“No, you didn’t!” she shouted back. “You did not try.”

In a statement Tuesday afternoon, Thomas More Society senior counsel Steve Crampton said he was pleased that the judge showed leniency toward Vaughn, but emphasized that “it remains the case that his conviction is a deep injustice.”

“On the anniversary of our nation’s charter declaring such rights ‘inalienable,’ Paul Vaughn and his co-defendants stand convicted of defending the inalienable right to life,” Crampton continued. “The weaponized and evidence-free charges brought here by the Biden Department of Justice against peaceful pro-lifers should have never been filed.”

He emphasized that the incident for which the Biden DOJ targeted Vaughn and his fellow pro-life activists was peaceful, “filled with prayer, hymn-singing, and worship.”

“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 United States government to prosecute Paul,” Crampton said. “We will continue to advocate tirelessly for pro-lifers like Paul, to make sure that the FACE Act is never again weaponized by the Department of Justice against its ideological opponents.”

[Editor’s note: This story originally was published by The Daily Signal.]

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