Andy is a pro-life activist who prays and protests outside the Southwestern Women’s Surgery Center abortion mill in Dallas, where late-term abortionist Curtis Boyd freely acknowledges he “kill[s]” children.
Agents Rodriguez and Sivley told Andy three red flags prompted their visit:
- His use of a megaphone outside the mill, a one-time event on March 31, which he stopped and never repeated after police told him he was violating a noise ordinance.
- A complaint by the clinic manager that Andy trespassed, which he did not. There was no evidence, yet police gave Andy a warning: “I asked the officer multiple times, ‘Why are you giving me this warning, as I did not trespass?’ All he would tell me was, ‘I’m giving you this warning.’ He did not answer my question.”
- Unsubstantiated complaints that Andy may be too aggressive. “One of the agents told me it is acceptable to be aggressive, however there is a line. He gave examples of things which would cross the line, such as making threats of violence, or obstructing vehicle access – violations of the FACE act. I told him in no uncertain terms that I had never done anything like this and had not considered anything like this either.”
Obviously, the charges rose to the level of nada to begin with, certainly not above local law enforcement’s pay grade. Thankfully, Andy videotaped his one and only foray into megaphoning, which was clearly tame and polite:
But the FBI used these as an excuse to knock on the door, nerve-wracking to begin with, and followed by asking totally inappropriate questions clearly aimed at intimidating Andy, while also launching into a fishing expedition about me. Per Andy and my daughter, who was home at the time, here were questions the agents asked:
- What affiliations do you have including church groups?
- How long have you known your wife?
- What belief system makes you believe in your cause?
- What is your goal in protesting?
- Do you know why people would make complaints against you?
- Are there friends of yours or people you’re connected with that you could confidentially tell us are aggressive or abrasive? “Don’t be afraid to tell us.”
- Are you involved in activism in Austin, since we noticed some entries on abortionwiki?
- They were REALLY interested in the connection to Jill Stanek – details of internship, New Zealand speaking tour visit, did you get your activist and pro-life ideas from her? Did she train or teach you? Did you meet Jill before or after you became involved in the movement? Was it Jill who “fired you up” to become so active in the movement?
- They were overly nice saying he wasn’t in trouble and feel free to tell us anything. Encouraged him to keep going back out there, that they represent both sides. ++they are protecting his freedom of speech++ is what they kept saying.
- They said their task force that deals with these abortion cases also handles Hate Crimes and White Supremacy. Odd grouping with pro-lifers.
- They knew he was an immigrant. They said a felony on his record could/would get him deported. “You wouldn’t want to be apart from your wife and newborn.”
Life Legal Defense Fund, one of the pro-life legal firms that has successfully defended pro-lifers against prosecution by Obama’s Department of Justice, has now taken Andy under its wing. Senior Staff Counsel, Allison Aranda, shared her insights in an email:
The Obama administration is essentially engaging in a witch hunt. From the moment the new administration took office, the DOJ has been targeting peaceful pro-life sidewalk counselors. They have come out guns blazing on several occasions often bringing allegations that could later not be substantiated or in some cases clearly proven to be false. Their weapon of choice – the FACE act. The DOJ is using tactics that amount to legal extortion. They have filed these frivolous claims against innocent people who don’t have the finances to hire big shot attorneys. The DOJ then kindly offers to settle the case if the counselor simply agrees to stay so many yards away and pay a couple thousand dollar fine.
Pro-bono legal foundations like LLDF, Alliance Defending Freedom, and Liberty Counsel have taken a stand to defend these innocent pro-lifers. Thankfully the sidewalk counselors have either had witnesses or video evidence to defend their actions. The DOJ has outright dismissed charges in two cases, walking away with egg on their face. In one case, a federal court judge issued a scathing opinion questioning the motives of the DOJ for bringing such unsubstantiated charges in the first place. The judge suggested that there might have been a conspiracy between the government and the abortion clinic to violate the free speech rights of the pro-life advocates.
It now seems that the unscrupulous Eric Holder is at it again. This time when the government determined that the evidence wasn’t quite what they thought it would be to proceed on a FACE claim against Andy, they turned their intimidating interrogation into a fishing expedition about the personal life of Jill Stanek. Targeted bullying by our government because of an individual’s viewpoint and willingness to share that message in the public square is intolerable. LLDF is committed to aggressively defending the rights of pro-life advocates. We will not back down, and we will not be threatened. We will continue to fight so that the freedoms of all are protected and preserved.