Paul Vaughn, Pro-Life Father of 11 Arrested by FBI Speaks Out
‘It was all very shocking. No one can believe the federal government would do something like this,’ said Paul Vaughn, who is facing alleged violations of the federal Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act.
About a year and a half ago, a small group that prayed regularly outside of the Carafem abortion business in Mount Juliet, Tennessee, gathered at the facility for what they called a “rescue.”
The focus that March 2021 day was prayer, reading Scripture and singing hymns.
More than a year passed.
Then, at 7am on Oct. 5, the FBI showed up at the home of Paul Vaughn, 55, president of Personhood Tennessee, in Centreville, Tennessee, to arrest him.
Four federal agents pounded on the Vaughn front door. Another agent walked around the family’s yard and apparently told two of Vaughn’s 11 children waiting for their father to drive them to school that their dad was about to be arrested.
Townhall.com reported that one child ran in, crying to her mother, “The FBI is here, and they are arresting Daddy.” Vaughn’s wife, Bethany, stated, according to Townhall, “They traumatized me and my children intentionally. We will never forget this.”
Both Vaughn and his wife contend that none of the FBI agents explained why they were there.
In a video taken by Vaughn’s wife, she asks the FBI agents, “I want to know why you’re banging on my door with a gun. You’re not going to tell me why you’re here? You’re not going to give me any information?” An agent responds, “No, we’re not. I tried.” The mother of 11 calls back, “No, you didn’t! You didn’t try!”
Not only did they get no explanation by the FBI agents at their home, Vaughn told the Register in a telephone interview, “No one — not the local sheriff’s office, elected reps or me — were given any clue beforehand” that the early-morning raid was about to take place. Vaughn said he did not receive notification to come to court either.
Referring to the day in question, Mount Juliet Police Capt. Tyler Chandler told The Wilson Post, a local newspaper, that people have assembled in front of the building since the opening of the women’s medical facility that originally provided medication abortions and expanded its services to surgical abortions in the town a few years ago.
“Since this facility opened, people have been allowed to peacefully protest here and have done so. This event was the first time that they have actually went inside the building and refused to leave,” Mount Juliet Police Chief James Hambrick told The Wilson Post. “Our aim was not to arrest. We had good dialogue. We’re just glad everything went as peaceful and orderly as it did.”
The morning of the FBI raid, Vaughn was taken from his home to a federal holding facility and given a lawyer. Vaughn has since notified the court of his change of legal representation to the Thomas More Society.
Vaughn said it wasn’t until the end of his six hours at the federal facility that the charges were explained to him. He was then released 60 miles from his home without a car, phone or wallet.
“It was all very shocking. No one can believe the federal government would do something like this, with two cars and four FBI agents,” Vaughn explained to the Register.
Thomas More Society attorneys are now defending Vaughn against alleged violations of the federal Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act, commonly known as the FACE Act. The Biden Department of Justice claims that Vaughn is guilty of “conspiracy against rights secured by the FACE Act,” as well as of violating the FACE Act itself, even though he never obstructed anyone from accessing the abortion facility, the crux of the act. The U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Middle District of Tennessee indicted Vaughn and six others for conspiracy and, additionally, four other individuals for committing FACE Act violations.
A total of 11 people have been arrested with charges regarding the same date and abortion center. Eight of the 11 are from outside the state. One, Eva Edl, is an 87-year-old Holocaust survivor from South Carolina.
If convicted, Vaughn faces up to 11 years in prison, three years supervised release and hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines. A fund has been set up to aid him and his family.
“Paul Vaughn’s arrest in front of his wife and seven of his children, including the 18-month-child she was holding, followed by his indictment on federal charges, is yet another attempt on the part of the Biden Department of Justice to frighten and intimidate Christians and committed life advocates,” Thomas More Society senior counsel Stephen Crampton said in a statement. “We believe the evidence will show that Paul did not violate the FACE Act, and we look forward to a chance to prove that in court.”
“Ironically,” Crampton added, “the FACE Act was established to federalize and criminalize any interference with a person’s attempts to obtain an abortion. Abortion is no longer legal in Tennessee, and the peaceful pro-life witness at the Mount Juliet abortion facility resulted in no injury, destruction or damage, yet 11 life advocates are facing Draconian penalties and federal prosecution.”
As Crampton explained to the Register in an email, “We intend to aggressively defend this case on both the facts and the law. We believe the FACE Act is unconstitutional, and this case underscores how egregiously it is being abused, even if it had any legitimate basis in the first place.”
Crampton also told the Register that, while the criminal case is in its earliest stages, “We believe that authority was abused in this situation. Especially when contrasted with the utter lack of interest, let alone investigation and arrest, of those committing genuine acts of violence against churches and pregnancy resource centers, it seems clear that the FBI is carrying out an agenda of the Biden administration to intimidate and inflict maximum harm — one might say, to terrorize — Christians and the pro-life community, while excusing and even condoning those on the pro-abortion side engaged in much more serious and harmful acts. Ironically, it is the same federal law — FACE — that prohibits both actions.”
However, Crampton pointed out to the Register, “It does appear to us that the constitutional rights of Paul and his family were violated by the FBI raid.” But, he added, “We will not be able to pursue any such claims until resolution of Paul’s criminal case.”
The legal group highlighted the anti-life emphasis of the current administration, with Crampton stating by email, “We are gratified to know that a congressional investigation is being sought and that the FBI’s brazen disregard for fundamental constitutional rights is being exposed in the court of public opinion. However, the current administration seems singularly unconcerned about the FBI’s abuse of power, and indeed seems to be celebrating it. The indictment in this case was released on the 100th day after the Dobbs case was decided, while the president and the vice president met with the newly constituted Reproductive Rights Task Force in the White House, strategizing on other ways of promoting the culture of death and rewarding their political supporters in the abortion industry. These arrests were intentional, and calculated, to send a harsh message to those who would dare engage in the most gentle, nonviolent acts of civil disobedience in support of the right to life. Restraining the FBI under these circumstances will be no easy task. They have become Garland’s Gestapo, wielded for purely political reasons, without regard to constitutional limitations or the strenuous objections of the American people.”
A similar FBI raid took place at the home of Mark Houck in Pennsylvania in late September, with 15-20 agents swarming his property. The Thomas More Society is also representing Houck.
This story was updated after posting.
- biden administration
- department of justice
- at-home raids
- mark houck
- Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act
- FACES act
- paul vaughn