Above: A Little Rock police officer arrests a pro-lifer for trespassing outside Little Rock Family Planning Services on January 15, 2021.

Federal authorities in Tennessee, Michigan, and Washington, D.C., are moving forward with the prosecution of pro-lifers who allegedly blocked access to abortion facilities in 2020 and 2021.

Last year the U.S. Justice Department indicted Lauren Handy, Jonathan Darnel, Jay Smith, Paula Harlow, Jean Marshall, John Hinshaw, Heather Iddoni, William Goodman, and Joan Bell for allegedly violating the Free Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act in Washington, D.C., on October 22, 2020.

The FACE Act is a federal law generally intended to prevent people from obstructing abortion facility entrances.

A second federal indictment alleges Calvin Zastrow, Eva Zastrow, Chester Gallagher, Heather Idonni, Caroline Davis, Joel Curry, Justin Phillips, and Eva Edl violated the FACE Act at a Michigan abortion facility in 2020 as well.

A third federal indictment unsealed in October of last year alleges that Chester Gallagher, Heather Iddoni, Calvin Zastrow, Eva Zastrow, Dennis Green, Coleman Boyd, Caroline Davis, Paul Vaugh, Paul Place, and Eva Edl blocked a Tennessee abortion facility entrance in March of 2021.

All three cases appear to be moving forward.

Earlier this month attorneys with the Justice Department filed a motion opposing efforts to acquit the pro-lifers in the 2020 D.C. case.

Likewise, a federal court in Tennessee decided to split its case up so the court can separately consider the misdemeanor and felony charges against the defendants. Attorneys continue to spar in the Michigan case as well.

These federal cases matter to Arkansas, because some of the defendants also face criminal trespassing charges from a 2021 incident at a now-shuttered abortion facility in Little Rock.

Eva Edl of South Carolina; Chet Gallagher of Tennessee; Dennis Green of Virginia; Calvin Zastrow of Michigan; Emily Nurnberg of Kansas; and Heather Iddoni of Michigan face misdemeanor criminal trespassing charges for allegedly blocking the entrance to Little Rock Family Planning Services — a surgical abortion facility that formerly operated in Little Rock — on January 15, 2021.

Court records show the pro-lifers were convicted in February of 2022, and each was ordered to pay a $350 fine. However, their attorney appealed the conviction.

Despite court hearings in Little Rock, the case has taken longer than might be expected due to the federal charges some of the defendants face in Tennessee, Michigan, and Washington, D.C.

It is very unusual for pro-lifers to be charged with violating the federal FACE Act. Now that the U.S. Supreme Court has reversed Roe v. Wade, abortion is prohibited in Arkansas except to save the life of the mother, and Little Rock Family Planning Services is shut down.

It is unclear at this point what bearing those facts might have on these cases as they move forward.

Articles appearing on this website are written with the aid of Family Council’s researchers and writers.