Trump pledges, if elected, to get jailed pro-life activists ‘back to their families’

Trump Former U.S. President Donald Trump walks on stage to deliver the keynote address at the Faith & Freedom Coalition's Road to Majority Policy Conference at the Washington Hilton on June 22, 2024, in Washington, D.C. | Credit: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

Former President Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee in the 2024 U.S. presidential election, has expressed his support for the pro-life activists who have been aggressively prosecuted and jailed under the Biden administration.

Trump raised the issue during a June 22 speech to the Faith and Freedom Coalition, where he specifically mentioned the case of 75-year-old Paulette Harlow, a Catholic, who was convicted of violating the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act this year. 

The U.S. Department of Justice has tried and convicted more than a dozen pro-life activists in 2024 based on the federal law, which increases penalties for anyone who obstructs access to an abortion clinic. Harlow, who is in poor health, was sentenced last month to 24 months in prison for participating in a blockade of an abortion clinic in Washington, D.C.

“Paulette is one of many peaceful pro-lifers who Joe Biden has rounded up, sometimes with SWAT teams, and thrown them in jail,” Trump said. “Many people are in jail over this. … We’re going to get that taken care of immediately — [on the] first day.”

Trump added that, if elected to another term as president, his administration would “rapidly review the cases of every political prisoner who’s unjustly victimized by the Biden regime, including Paulette, so we can get them out of the gulags and back to their families where they belong.”

When reached for comment, the former president’s national press secretary, Karoline Leavitt, did not elaborate on Trump’s pledge. CNA specifically asked whether Trump would commit to pardoning Harlow and the other pro-life activists convicted of FACE Act violations during the Trump administration.

During his speech, Trump said Christians, and especially Catholics, are being persecuted under the country’s current leadership. The former president also reiterated his promise to create a federal task force to investigate anti-Christian bias and other forms of illegal discrimination against people of faith. 

“We will protect Christians in our schools, in our military, in our government, in our workplaces, in our hospitals, and in our public square,” Trump said.

Trump also took credit for the United States Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade. He said abortion policy was given “back to the states … where the people [can] vote and make their decisions.” He said if Democrats “get their way, they will have a federal law for abortion to rip the baby out of the womb in the seventh, eighth, and ninth month and even execute the baby after birth.”

For her part, Leavitt said the Biden administration has “waged a yearslong assault on Christianity.” She added that, under Biden, the Federal Bureau of Investigation “plotted to infiltrate Catholic Masses to spy on attendees” and emphasized that as president, Trump will “end Biden’s discrimination against Christians and stand up for religious freedom, as he did in his first term.” 

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