Federal prosecutors on Tuesday charged two members of the radical left-wing group Antifa with vandalizing Florida pregnancy clinics.
Prosecutors say Caleb Freestone and Amber Smith-Stewart spray-painted threats of violence on three facilities in the Miami area between May 28 and July 3, 2022. Their graffiti made reference to "Jane’s Revenge," an anonymous group that has taken credit for dozens of firebombings and other attacks on pro-life facilities in the wake of the Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. They painted "WE’RE COMING for U" on a facility in Winter Haven on June 26. A facility affiliated with the Archdiocese of Miami was tagged with the threat, "If abortions aren’t SAFE then neither [sic] are you," on July 3.
All of the clinics offer free ultrasounds, pregnancy testing, and counseling, prosecutors said.
The charges are the first the Biden Justice Department has brought against left-wing activists under the FACE Act, a law that prohibits threats against reproductive health facilities. The administration had until now enforced the law only against pro-life activists. Republicans have accused the Justice Department of a double-standard in their investigations of incidents at pro-life facilities.
The case could present a potential dilemma for the Justice Department. Kristen Clarke, who is spearheading the investigation as head of the DOJ civil rights division, has been a vocal critic of crisis pregnancy centers in the past. In 2018, she asserted the facilities were "predatory" against minority women. She also used hashtag "#ExposeFakeClinics" in reference to the facilities, the Washington Free Beacon reported.
Freestone’s group, Whatever It Takes, has echoed similar rhetoric. The group used the "ExposeFakeClinics" hashtag in social media posts promoting Freestone’s Sept. 17, 2022, arrest for disrupting a fundraiser for Heartbeat of Miami held at Trump National Doral.
Both Freestone and Smith-Stewart are affiliated with Antifa and other radical groups, according to news reports and social media postings. Smith-Stewart, 23, describes herself as "Antifa, anti-capitalist" and "NON BINARY" on her Facebook page.
Freestone, 27, has claimed affiliation with the activist group Whatever It Takes, according to news reports of his prior arrests for other activist activity. He was charged with disorderly conduct during a July 20, 2022, school board meeting in Miami-Dade County.
He was detained on July 9, 2022, after hanging a banner from a tower in Miami that read "S.O.S. Biden They Won’t Stop At Roe." Freestone and Smith-Stewart are accused of vandalizing Heartbeat of Miami’s facility in Hialeah on July 3.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R., Fla.) told the Free Beacon that Clarke’s remarks should disqualify her from leading the civil rights division.
"Kristen Clarke never should have been confirmed," he told the Free Beacon last year. "Her disdain toward the very people now under threat was predictable and it should be disqualifying. Attorney General Garland should make clear that Clarke will have no involvement in any of these cases as those move forward."