EXCLUSIVE: Pro-Life Activists Arrested on Federal Charges Speak Out

EXCLUSIVE: Pro-Life Activists Arrested on Federal Charges Speak Out
Heather Idoni holds her grandson at her bookstore in Linden, Mich., in a file image. (Courtesy of Heather Idoni)
Zachary Stieber

Some of the pro-life activists who were charged with violations of the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act last week are speaking out.

Federal authorities announced charges on Oct. 6 against 11 activists who blocked a clinic entrance in Tennessee in 2021. All of the activists were charged with violating the law. Known as the FACE Act, the law prohibits threatening or obstructing people who are trying to obtain or provide abortions. Some of the activists also were charged with civil rights conspiracy.

"As I face the unjust charges in D.C. and now Tennessee, my only desire is to walk through everything in God's grace. I have no regret in standing for righteousness in defending the innocent unborn children," Heather Idoni of Michigan told The Epoch Times in an email.

"It is a privilege to be counted worthy to share in these 'light and momentary troubles' that can't come near to what my Savior suffered for me."

Idoni was previously charged with blocking an abortion clinic in Washington. She was hit with a FACE Act violation and civil rights conspiracy because she allegedly conspired to "injure, oppress, threaten, and intimidate" patients and employees at the Carafem clinic in Mt. Juliet, Tennessee, according to charging documents.

Idoni was among those who were seen blocking access to the clinic on March 5, 2021, in a livestreamed video titled "Rescue," posted by a co-defendant.

The group stated that its intention was to block women who were seeking abortions. They sat and stood in a hallway outside the clinic's entrance, sang songs, and read Bible verses. Many were charged with trespassing because they refused to leave the scene after several hours.

Eva Edl is another person present at the time who has been charged with a FACE Act violation. The 87-year-old survived a concentration camp after World War II, according to her biography.

"When I place my body at the entrance of Abortion Clinics, I am only doing what I wish people in my country had done for me when I was shipped in a cattle car to be exterminated in a concentration camp in Yugoslavia," Edl told The Epoch Times via email. "Life begins at conception and deserves equal protection at all stages of development or decline."

Edl referred to several Bible verses, including Acts 5:29, which she paraphrased, writing: "I cannot permit myself to be intimidated by what my present government might do to me. I am committed to obey God rather than men."

Eva Edl in a file image. (www.shelookslikemylittlegirl.com)
Eva Edl in a file image. (www.shelookslikemylittlegirl.com)

'Pretty Ludicrous'

Dennis Green was with two of his children outside the clinic in 2021. He said that the trespassing charge led to what was essentially a guilty verdict, but that he and his children are set to have their record expunged soon if they stay out of trouble.

Green told The Epoch Times he believes the new charges are politically motivated.

"There's no doubt about that. It's unheard of to spend a couple of hours peacefully and prayerfully sitting down in the hallway ... and no violent intent, to be charged with something [like this]," he said.

"It's pretty ludicrous, especially when you see what's going on in our society today where people burning down cities go without charges, yet peaceful Christians would be facing heavy charges like this."

Green acknowledged that per the wording of the FACE Act, some people would say the group violated the law.

"But our intent was not to violate any law but to save a baby's life. It wasn't a protest," he said.

"There was a baby scheduled to die that day. We peacefully, prayerfully interposed to save that baby's life. And in all of society and other situations, to break a law to save human life is accepted, whether crossing a property boundary to pull a child from drowning in the pool or going into a burning building without asking the property owner's permission to save a life.

"And there were children scheduled to die that day. So I would say we did not violate a law in that we were upholding a higher law: saving human life."

Green and a number of others who were charged have been arrested, processed, and released on their own recognizance, according to information from the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee. Contact information for some of the defendants couldn't be located; others didn't return requests for comment.

Carafem, the organization that runs the clinic, said it welcomed the charges. A spokesperson told The Epoch Times in an email, "Carafem is pleased to see that the federal government is enforcing the law to protect health care providers and patients who seek vital health care."

Related Topics