8 People Indicted for Blocking Michigan Reproductive Health Services Facility That Provides Abortions: DOJ
The DOJ tells Inside Edition Digital in an email that the defendants in this case have not been arraigned yet.
Eight people were charged with civil rights offenses for obstructing a reproductive health service facility in August 2020 and April 2021, the Department of Justice announced Wednesday.
Calvin Zastrow, Chester Gallagher, Heather Idoni, Caroline Davis, Joel Curry, Justin Phillips, Eva Edl and Eva Zastrow engaged in a civil rights conspiracy and violated the FACE Act in connection with an August 2020 blockade of a reproductive health care clinic in Sterling Heights, Michigan, according to the DOJ.
The FACE Act is Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances and is a civil rights matter, according to the DOJ.
In an indictment filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, authorities allege Gallagher promoted a planned blockade at the clinic over social media. He and the other seven people indicted allegedly gathered at a location near the clinic just before it opened and then walked to the facility, sat and stood in front of the clinic's main entrance and blocked the doors, according to the indictment.
Curry and Gallagher allegedly recorded the demonstration with their cell phones while Curry also live-streamed the event on social media, according to the court document.
Prosecutors said the eight defendants wouldn't let a woman into the clinic after she told them she had an appointment to get birth control. "We're not letting anybody in,” Curry allegedly told her, according to court document.
The eight defendants also allegedly prevented another patient from entering the clinic and Sterling Heights police officers were called, according to the court document. Police directed the group to move, but they refused.
"The longer they talk with us, the better the opportunity we have to see women and children rescued," Gallagher said, according to the indictment. "And that's what obstructing the door of an abortion clinic is about and why it's so successful. We are here blocking access so the doors can't open."
Idoni and Edl were also charged with violating the FACE Act in connection with an April 2021 blockade of a reproductive health care clinic in Saginaw.
Five of the eight defendants — Zastrow, Idoni, Curry, Phillips and Zastrow — are Michigan residents.
Gallagher is from Tennessee. Davis is from Georgia. Edl is from South Carolina.
All eight are accused of violating sections 241 and 248 under Title 18 of the United States Code in connection with the 2020 incident. Section 241 prohibits being part of a conspiracy to deprive another person of his or her rights, which is a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
Section 248 prohibits using force, the threat of force, or physical obstruction to intentionally injure or intimidate a person obtaining or providing reproductive health services.
The DOJ tells Inside Edition Digital in an email that the defendants in this case have not been arraigned yet and have not yet entered a plea to the charges they face.
Inside Edition Digital reached out to attorneys who were listed for Davis and Gallagher and have not heard back.
An attorney who is representing Zastrow in an unrelated case in Tennessee tells Inside Edition Digital in an email that while she is not representing her in this case, "I anticipate she will also enter a plea of not guilty at the appropriate time.”
An attorney representing Edl in an unrelated case also tells Inside Edition Digital in an email that "she has not yet made an appearance in (the Michigan) case to enter a plea to those charges, nor has she been appointed counsel in that matter."
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