The message "Jane's Revenge" and the circled-A anarchy symbol were tagged in graffiti on the walls of pro-life pregnancy centers in the Miami area between May and July last year, along with the warning: "If abortions aren't safe, neither are you."
The incidents were part of a wave of vandalism and property destruction following the leak of a draft Supreme Court decision that would overturn abortion rights under Roe v. Wade. Graffiti, smashed windows, and a handful of arson attacks were documented in multiple states. The vandals targeted so-called "crisis pregnancy centers," facilities typically run by religious organizations aiming to steer women away from abortion while offering counseling and basic services like pregnancy tests.
"Jane's Revenge" emerged as a far-left movement linked to many of the incidents. A blog associated with the movement reportedly proclaimed six days after the Supreme Court leak, "We are forced to adopt the minimum military requirement for a political struggle... Medical imperialism will not face a passive enemy."
The communique sparked fears that leftist activists would resort to extreme tactics employed by far-right groups against abortion clinics for decades, ranging from bomb threats to Molotov cocktails to assaults on staff members and patients. So far, the publicly reported incidents galvanized by the Jane's Revenge movement in 2022 caused extensive property damage but have not involved direct violent against people.
Though charges were initially scant in the string of pro-life pregnancy center vandalism, two suspects — 27-year-old Caleb Freestone and 23-year-old Amber Smith-Stewart — were arrested this week in connection with the Florida incidents.
The duo's arrests come after Republican politicians, including Sen. Marco Rubio, lambasted federal law enforcement for not investigating the vandalism more thoroughly.
A grand jury indictment claims Freestone, a Miami resident, and Smith-Stewart, an Ocoee resident, vandalized three Florida pro-life pregnancy centers in an attempt to threaten and intimidate the facilities' employees. The pair are facing charges of conspiracy to obstruct rights and violating the Freedom of Access to Clinical Entrances (FACE) Act.
On May 28, the indictment claims, Freestone and Smith-Stewart spray-painted, "If abortions aren't safe [neither] are you," on a center affiliated with the Archdiocese of Miami in Hollywood.
A Local 10 report that documented vandalism at the Respect Life Center matches the date and description of the incident described in the indictment. The graffiti prominently features a "Jane's Revenge" tag above the anarchy symbol.
A month later, two days after the U.S. Supreme Court's reversal of abortion rights guaranteed under Roe v. Wade, Freestone and Smith-Stewart allegedly defaced a pregnancy center in Winter Haven with threats such as "Your time is up," "We're coming for you," and "We are everywhere."
Freestone and Smith-Stewart then vandalized a pregnancy center in Hialeah on July 3, prosecutors say.
The graffiti appeared at Heart Beat Miami's Pregnancy Help Medical Clinics and included the "Jane's Revenge" tag near the message, "Our rage will not stop." According to its website, the pro-life non-profit's mission is to establish "life-saving, life-changing pregnancy help medical clinics in the neediest neighborhoods of South Florida."
The indictment does not specifically mention the Jane's Revenge movement, nor does it allege Freestone and Smith-Stewart were involved in violent activity.
Freestone is a well-known local activist. He was detained by police this past July after he climbed a metal structure in Miami ahead of a protest of the Supreme Court's abortion ruling, and hung a banner that read "SOS Biden, they won't stop at Roe." He was not charged in connection with the stunt.
Later that month, he was arrested at a Miami-Dade County School Board meeting for attending the event after receiving a permanent trespass warning from the district months earlier, according to a WLRN report. He was escorted out of the building and charged with counts of disorderly conduct, trespassing, and resisting arrest without violence, all of which were later dropped. His attorney maintained that the district bylaws allow for ejection from a single meeting but not a permanent ban.
All three vandalized pro-life centers mentioned in the indictment provide counseling, pregnancy tests, and ultrasound screening, according to the court documents.
Crisis pregnancy centers, which are typically run by anti-abortion organizations, have been criticized by abortion-rights supporters who say the centers use misleading, religiously driven rhetoric to dissuade women from getting abortions. Opponents have dubbed them "fake clinics," saying they advertise reproductive healthcare but do not offer critical services like birth control and abortion.
The charges against Freestone and Smith-Stewart indicate that prosecutors are taking a firm stance on pregnancy center vandalism with undertones of political intimidation. The charge of conspiracy to obstruct rights is a federal felony with a maximum sentence of ten years.
Freestone and Smith-Stewart each face fines of up to $350,000, according to a Department of Justice press release.
The two charges under the Freedom of Access to Clinical Entrances (FACE) Act each carry a maximum one-year penalty.
The act, signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1994, makes it a federal crime to interfere with people seeking services at reproductive health clinics.
The legislation was passed shortly after the 1993 murder of David Gunn, a Pensacola abortion clinic doctor, at the hands of an anti-abortion extremist. That same year, anti-abortion extremist Shelley Shannon of the Army of God shot Dr. George Tiller, director of Women's Health Care Services, a Kansas abortion clinic. (Tiller survived but was later shot and killed in another extremist attack in 2009.)
Though the FACE Act was signed in response to fatal violence against abortion clinic staff in the early 1990s, it has been enforced to protect pro-life reproductive clinics as well.