Justice Department indicts 11 activists in connection to blocking Tennessee abortion clinic access

Seven of the defendants face up to 11 years in prison.
Pro-life activists, Washington, D.C., June 13, 2022

The Justice Department has indicted 11 protesters in connection with obstructing entry to a Tennessee abortion clinic this past winter. 

The protesters were charged in connection with violating the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act by allegedly having created a "blockade" of the abortion clinic, in Mount Juliet, Tennessee.

The facility is near Nashville, and the incident occurred March 5, according to a federal indictment unsealed Wednesday.

Defendant Chester Gallagher helped organize the protest, which he called a "rescue." 

The blockade was live-streamed, and the protesters stopped a patient and an employee from entering the clinic, according to the Justice Department.

Defendant Coleman Boyd said during the live stream that the patient was a "mom coming to kill her baby."

The indictment alleges those charged "used force and physical obstruction to injure, intimidate and interfere with employees of the clinic and a patient" at the clinic.

Other related charges include civil rights conspiracy to prevent a medical facility from providing, and patients from obtaining, reproductive care, and violating the Freedom of Access Act.

Boyd and at least four others reportedly traveled to Tennessee for the protest, which was co-organized by Gallagher.

The seven protesters accused of conspiracy face up to 11 years in prison, followed by three years of supervised release in addition to a $350,000 fine.

The other five are accused of stopping women and employees from entering the clinic face up to one year in prison followed by a year of supervised release in addition to a $10,000 fine.

The release of the indictment comes after Attorney General Merrick Garland said this summer that his agency "will use every tool at our disposal to ensure that pregnant women get the medical care that they are entitled to," following the Supreme Court's striking down Roe v. Wade, ending decades of federally protected right to abortion.