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Perpetrators to be ‘held accountable’ after vandalism against pregnancy center

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Vandalism at a Heartbeat of Miami pregnancy center in Hialeah, Florida, July 3, 2022. / Credit: Heartbeat of Miami

CNA Staff, Jul 2, 2024 / 15:00 pm (CNA).

The owners of a life-affirming Florida pregnancy center have settled with vandals who graffitied the property, according to a Friday announcement from First Liberty Institute, a legal nonprofit based in Plano, Texas, that defended the charity organization.

Heartbeat of Miami, a faith-based nonprofit ministry that offers life-affirming services to women and couples facing unplanned pregnancies, has “reached a favorable settlement” with the vandals, according to a June 28 press release

“Heartbeat of Miami gets justice! Vandals who spray-painted threatening messages on Heartbeat’s property last year will pay for their crimes,” First Liberty Institute wrote in a post on X. “This is a big win for Florida’s pro-life community.”

While First Liberty “cannot publicly discuss the specifics,” the press release noted that the vandals who spray-painted threatening messages on the pregnancy center’s property in June 2022 “will be held accountable.” 

The vandals were associated with “Jane’s Revenge,” a militant pro-abortion group that targets pregnancy help centers and takes responsibility for arson, firebombing, and vandalism against the organizations. The group emerged after the leak of the Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade in May 2022. 

At Heartbeat of Miami, the vandalism resulted in thousands of dollars in damages, with graffitied messages such as “Jane’s Revenge” and “If abortions aren’t safe, then neither are you” sprayed on the walls. 

The activists later disrupted the organization’s annual fundraising gala in September 2022, according to Heartbeat of Miami’s 2023 complaint.

“Jane’s Revenge’s campaign of violence, executed by its associated cells across the country against life-affirming reproductive health care facilities, has resulted in attacks on over 80 facilities across the country, including three facilities in Florida,” the complaint read.

Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody filed suit on behalf of several pregnancy clinics including Heartbeat of Miami, citing the federal Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act, according to the press release.

The law, signed by former president Bill Clinton in 1994, prohibits “violent, threatening, damaging, and obstructive conduct intended to injure, intimidate, or interfere with the right to seek, obtain, or provide reproductive health services.”

The law has frequently been used in defense of abortion. Numerous pro-life activists have recently been convicted under the statute for blocking the entrance to an abortion clinic in Washington, D.C., in 2020. Many of the activists are facing up to 10 years in prison, including two elderly activists who are facing prison time. 

“It’s the first instance of a state attorney general using the FACE Act to hold violent protestors accountable,” the press release noted.

Heartbeat provides free pregnancy tests; sonograms; pregnancy consultation and education, support, and referrals; and parenting preparation, according to its website. The center has a baby boutique that provides material supplies for women and has an abortion pill reversal contact center and post-abortion counseling. 

“Since opening its doors in 2007, Heartbeat has assisted thousands of women in navigating both their pregnancies and the early stages of motherhood,” the complaint read. “It does all of this based on its religious calling to serve its community and love ‘the least’ of its community, including underserved and low-income individuals.”

“This case is a reminder that no one should suffer violence for simply providing faith-based counseling and baby supplies to women and their babies,” First Liberty Senior Counsel Jeremy Dys said in the press release.


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