Will Lawsuits Expose ‘Jane’s Revenge’? Alleged Florida Vandals on the Defense
‘Antifa and Jane’s Revenge are criminal organizations and must answer for their crimes in Florida,’ Moody said on March 30.
Two alleged perpetrators of “Jane’s Revenge” threats and vandalism against pro-life pregnancy centers in Florida could face legal penalties of up to $170,000 each if lawsuits against them are successful.
The lawsuits could help expose the nature of the purported anarchist movement whose radical pro-abortion vandalism and threats of more violence helped inspire dozens of incidents and prompted serious concerns among many pro-lifers.
In January, the Department of Justice brought FACE Act charges against two Floridians, 27-year-old Caleb Freestone and 23-year-old Amber Smith-Stewart, for spray-painting threats on a pro-life clinic in Winter Haven, Florida; an Archdiocese of Miami pro-life pregnancy center in Hollywood, Florida; and one of Heartbeat of Miami’s pro-life pregnancy centers in Hialeah, Florida.
The Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act of 1994 (the FACE Act) allows criminal and civil penalties for those who, by force or threat of force, intimidate or interfere with the provision of reproductive health services.
Civil penalties are now under consideration. Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody filed a complaint on March 29 in the U.S. District Court Middle District of Florida Tampa Division. Moody asked that Freestone and Smith-Stewart each pay $30,000 in damages and civil penalties of $140,000.
“Antifa and Jane’s Revenge are criminal organizations and must answer for their crimes in Florida,” Moody said on March 30. “I am taking action to hold their members accountable for attempting to intimidate and threaten law-abiding citizens in our state.”
The complaint did not describe the groups in detail. “Antifa” is a loosely organized movement of self-described anti-fascists, while “Jane’s Revenge” appears to be an aligned collective of autonomous groups that prefer autonomous “direct action” against abortion foes.
According to Moody’s complaint, both “Antifa” and “Jane’s Revenge” pro-abortion advocates have engaged in attacks against pro-life pregnancy centers, advocacy groups, and churches after the May 2022 leak of a draft Supreme Court decision in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health case that would overturn Roe v. Wade.
The complaint cites the two defendants’ alleged involvement in coordinated attacks in Florida, vandalizing at least three crisis centers, including the South Broward Pregnancy Help Center, LifeChoice crisis pregnancy center in Winter Haven, and Heartbeat of Miami in Hialeah. The defendants spray-painted on center walls the Jane’s Revenge catchphrase: “If abortions aren’t safe, neither are you.”
The Winter Haven center was spray-painted with messages including “YOUR TIME IS UP!!”, “WE’RE COMING for YOU,” and “We are everywhere.”
The complaint said these attacks “harm clinics offering services free of charge, harm citizens seeking and in need of pregnancy-related services, create an atmosphere of fear and intimidation, and destabilize civil society.”
The complaint describes Freestone and Smith-Stewart as “members of Antifa and Jane’s Revenge.” Their attacks “mirrored the vandalism occurring across the country,” specifically in their use of the phrase “If abortions aren’t safe, neither are you.”
The complaint also noted the pregnancy centers’ roles in providing services such as counseling, pregnancy testing, ultrasound, examination, parenting education, ongoing support, referrals for prenatal care, post-abortion care, and adoption.
Another lawsuit, from the First Liberty Institute legal group, was filed on behalf of Heartbeat of Miami pregnancy center in Hialeah against Freestone, Smith-Stewart, and a third defendant, Annarella Rivera.
It alleges that in addition to the defacing and spray-painting of Heartbeat’s property, the defendants hacked the guest list for the pro-life group’s annual gala so they could attend and disrupt it. At the gala, they shouted obscenities, disparaged staff, volunteers, and supporters, and leafletted the venue.
“If you’re going to pick up a brick or a can of spray paint to express your disagreement, then you need to be prepared to bear the consequences,” Jeremy Dys, special counsel for litigation and communications at First Liberty Institute, told The Daily Signal in a podcast published April 11.
According to Dys, the legal action is an opportunity to investigate the nature of Jane’s Revenge and its supporters.
“We’re going to find out if Jane’s Revenge is nothing more than a paper tiger spray-painted on the walls across the country or if they are an actual network of underground criminals seeking to injure or intimidate or interfere with access to life-affirming reproductive health care facilities,” he said.
Lawsuits against vandals in other states could be forthcoming as their identities become known, Dys said.
There are four named defendants in incidents targeting pro-life pregnancy centers in Florida.
A March 22 indictment alleges that Gabriella Oropesa and Rivera, along with Freestone and Smith-Stewart, spray-painted threats on the Archdiocese of Miami’s Hollywood pregnancy center. The threats included the message, “If abortions aren’t safe then niether [sic] are you.”
The indictment also alleges that Rivera, Freestone, Smith-Stewart, and “conspirators” vandalized the LifeChoice center in Winter Haven. The indictment further alleges that Freestone, Oropesa, and “conspirators” spray-painted “If abortions aren’t safe the [sic] neither are you” on the Heartbeat of Miami clinic in Hialeah.
Additionally, all four defendants face charges of engaging in a “conspiracy against rights” for attempting to prevent employees at pro-life pregnancy centers from providing services, the indictment says.
Last month, law enforcement officials arrested Hridindu Sankar Roychowdhury, 29, in Boston in connection with the May 8, 2022, firebombing of Wisconsin Family Action’s Madison office. Roychowdhury, an engineer at a Madison biotech company, holds a Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of Wisconsin at Madison.
The building of the pro-life organization, which was attacked on Mother’s Day, was spray-painted with the words “If abortions aren’t safe, then you aren’t either.”
A purported communique from “Jane’s Revenge,” dated May 8, 2022, and shared online, depicted the attack as “only a warning” and demanded “the disbanding of all anti-choice establishments, fake clinics, and violent anti-choice groups within the next thirty days.”
“We are not one group, but many,” the message claimed. However, another message shared later that month claimed the movement will be “unsustainable” if it continues to rely on “the same few hundred people.”
To date, 34 Catholic churches, 60 pregnancy centers, one maternity home, three political organizations, six billboards, one political figure, and one memorial have been targeted in pro-abortion attacks following the Supreme Court leak in May 2022.
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