Pregnancy center CEO speculates why DOJ hasn't charged abortion activist with violating FACE Act

The CompassCare location in Amherst, New York, was vandalized with graffiti in the early morning hours of March 16, 2023.
The CompassCare location in Amherst, New York, was vandalized with graffiti in the early morning hours of March 16, 2023. | CompassCare

A New York woman pleaded guilty to vandalizing a sign at a CompassCare pregnancy center, one of many pro-life organizations to fall victim to the wave of violence that followed the U.S. Supreme Court decision to reverse Roe v. Wade, which was leaked to the press in May 2022 and led to the onslaught of attacks on churches and pregnancy centers. 

Hannah E. Kamke pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct on Sept.15, and the 40-year-old agreed to pay $2,580 in restitution as part of a plea agreement. 

As The Buffalo News reported earlier this month, Kamke was initially charged with third-degree criminal mischief after she spray-painted “LIARS” on a sign outside an Amherst CompassCare facility, a network of pregnancy centers in New York. Kamke was also ordered to stay away from the CompassCare office she vandalized in March, according to the outlet. 

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In an interview with The Christian Post, CompassCare CEO, the Rev. Jim Harden, said local law enforcement and the Erie County District Attorney’s Office helped secure the conviction. The DOJ, however, has not indicted Kamke on FACE Act charges. 

The FACE Act is a federal law enacted in 1994 that makes it a federal crime for activists to use force or the threat of force to stop women from obtaining an abortion or destruction of a reproductive healthcare facility or place of worship. 

In January and March, the DOJ indicted several abortion activists under the FACE Act for similar acts of violence against pro-life organizations in Florida. Regarding why the DOJ does not appear to have charged Kamke, Harden speculated that the motive behind the previous indictments was political.

The CompassCare CEO argued that around the time the DOJ announced the indictments, there had been news of numerous attacks against pro-life organizations, but no one appeared to have been charged. 

Then, last September, a team of FBI agents arrested Mark Houck at his home on FACE Act charges due to an October 2021 incident where Houck got into a confrontation with a Planned Parenthood clinic escort who was threatening his 12-year-old son. Houck was found not guilty of violating the FACE Act earlier this year, with his attorneys noting during the trial that Houck did not obstruct access to the facility.

Another reason Harden believes the Florida cases resulted in indictments is due to questions from Republican lawmakers about a whistleblower report alleging that the FBI is biased against conservatives and pro-life advocates. 

“So, it looked very much like the Biden administration's DOJ had been politicized, and they were weaponizing the FACE Act specifically against politically disfavored groups,” Harden said. 

The CompassCare CEO believes that the lack of action from officials in the DOJ and the FBI constitutes a violation of the Third KKK Act of 1871, enshrined in the U.S. Code 42, Sections 1983, 1985 and 1986. The act prohibits individuals acting under state authority from depriving a person or a group of people of equal protection under the law or any other rights. 

Harden said CompassCare had alerted the FBI about concerns of attacks weeks before the two attacks on the organization’s location in Buffalo. 

A vandal firebombed the office in June, which occurred around the same time radical activist groups like ANTIFA and Jane’s Revenge were attacking pro-life organizations and churches throughout the country. In March, the Buffalo office was vandalized again, with video footage showing Kamke defacing the facility’s sign with the word “LIARS.”

“We contacted the FBI two weeks before the firebombing in Buffalo because we were seeing this kind of violent activity on the rise, and we were getting threats,” Harden explained. 

The reverend recalled the firebombing of a pregnancy center in Madison, Wisconsin, in May, which the activist group Jane’s Revenge took responsibility for, publicly declaring that the act was a “warning.” The group then demanded that all pro-life pregnancy centers disband within 30 days. 

As Harden noted, shortly after Jane’s Revenge issued its threats of attacks, CompassCare’s office in Buffalo was attacked in a similar fashion. Harden highlighted the consequences that pro-life organizations are subjected to after such attacks, revealing that CompassCare’s liability insurance company dropped them after the firebombing in June. 

“We’re the ones being attacked,” Harden said, noting how politicians such as Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass, have continued to mislead the public about pregnancy centers amid the ongoing threats and vandalism.

“We have right now a federal law enforcement system that is treating the law like a legal buffet, picking and choosing which ones to enforce and against those who are politically disfavored,” the CompassCare CEO said. “It’s an unsettling situation that we’re in right now, and it’s unsettling for me to call attention to it. But we’ve got to if we value the rule of law.” 

Harden stated that the FACE Act is “unconstitutional,” asserting that the federal law has been used to target pro-life advocates. Earlier this month, Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, made a similar argument when he introduced a bill to repeal the FACE Act following the conviction of several pro-life activists found guilty of violating the law. 

In August, activists Lauren Handy, John Heather Idoni, William Goodman and Herb Geraghty were found guilty of violating the FACE Act for their involvement in a blockade of a Washington, D.C., abortion clinic in October 2020. The following month, activists Jonathan Darnel, Jean Marshall and Joan Bell were found guilty on the same counts. 

While the CompassCare CEO believes the FACE Act should be repealed, he added that so long as it is the law of the land, the act must be equally enforced. 

Despite the vandalism and negative rhetoric about pregnancy centers from political leaders, Harden leaned on the values of Christianity, which he noted promises followers that their faith will cost them. 

“And people have to make a decision now as to whether they’re going to believe that God is our protector and God is our provider,” he said, contending that Americans tend to take for granted “a blind justice system.” 

The pro-life leader encouraged his fellow Christians to continue moving forward and to trust that God desires His followers to keep speaking up for the voiceless, which includes pre-born children. 

“This is what He did for us, and He asked us to walk in His footsteps, no matter what kind of pressure we're going to get,” he said. “It's still always and everywhere, right and good people to sacrifice on behalf of your fellow man, specifically, the weak and vulnerable of society.”

Samantha Kamman is a reporter for The Christian Post. She can be reached at: Follow her on Twitter: @Samantha_Kamman

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