NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Six pro-lifers targeted by the Biden administration sang hymns and urged peace at an abortion facility in Tennessee during a 2021 protest for which they face 11 years in prison, according to videos shown in federal court on Thursday.
The videos were played during the second day of the trial of the six pro-lifers in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee at the Fred D. Thompson courthouse in Nashville. The pro-lifers are charged by the Department of Justice with violating the FACE Act and conspiring against civil rights, a charge that could lead to 11 years in prison.
The charges stem from a protest that took place in a hallway outside of a Mount Juliet abortion provider on March 5, 2021. On that day, a group of demonstrators gathered on the second floor of an office building in the hallway outside the Carafem Health Center Clinic. The group prayed, sang hymns, and urged women showing up to the clinic to not get abortions.
Those on trial are Chet Gallagher, Coleman Boyd, Heather Idoni, Cal Zastrow, Paul Vaughn, and Dennis Green. Several of the defendants who spoke briefly with The Daily Wire after the lunch recess of the trial on Thursday were in good spirits, pointing to their Christian faith.
Caroline Davis, who was one of those arrested at Carafem, took a plea deal earlier this year and agreed to testify for the government. During her testimony, the prosecution played videos of what happened at Carafem during the protest.
Some of the videos showed the group singing songs like “Holy, Holy, Holy,” and “Onward Christian Soldiers,” while others showed members of the group talking to police. Another video showed one participant telling another to speak “in love” to a man with his girlfriend who had shown up at Carafem and that someone’s “baby is a gift from God.”
Gallagher was on video telling those present on March 5 to conduct themselves peacefully and to make sure to not do any property damage. The group hoped to encounter women heading into Carafem for abortions and persuade them to keep their unborn children.
During her testimony, Davis said that she had been told about the “Rescue” planned for Carafem and wanted to attend. A “Rescue” is where the pro-lifers attempt to speak with women and encourage them to not go through with an abortion.
Davis claimed that she had a change of heart about attending the Rescue and that her “rational side” was “in the toilet” at the time of her participation. She said that she changed her mind “over time” and that being indicted by the federal government “terrified” her.
When she was cross-examined by Jodie Bell, Gallagher’s lawyer, Davis became repeatedly exasperated with the questions, especially when asked about how many times she met with the government before the trial. When asked about a previous meeting with the prosecution and about how long it was, she said, “I have a busy life” and replied “Oh my God,” when asked about another meeting with the government. At one point, Judge Aleta Trauger told her to just answer the question and not add any commentary to her answers.
Davis did say that the intention of the protest was to “keep abortions from happening” and that it was always intended to be peaceful. She had spent 28 hours in jail after being arrested for trespassing at Carafem.
No one present at Carafem was arrested for assault or any assault-related charge. Davis said the most violence she saw was when a police officer moved two pro-lifers aside when taking a woman down the hallway to the abortion facility.
Aso during cross examination, the prosecution objected to a defense lawyer using the phrase “rescue babies,” an objection which was sustained by Trauger. Davis will be further cross-examined on Friday.
For the second straight day, the court gallery was packed with friends and family of the defendants. The trial is expected to last into next week.