Ohio woman pleads guilty to defacing pro-life health clinic
After the Justice Department charged her for the act of defacing a pro-life health clinic earlier this year, Ohio resident Whitney Durant has pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count and may face jail time as a result, according to Fox News.
Durant, also known as Soren Monroe, was accused of vandalizing the HerChoice clinic located in Bowling Green, Ohio back in April, an offense for which she has now accepted responsibility.
Acts of vandalism alleged
The HerChoice clinic, known to some as the Bowling Green Pregnancy Center, routinely offers free testing for pregnancy and STIs, performs ultrasounds, provides parenting classes, and distributes supplies for the care of babies and toddlers.
According to her own admission, Durant vandalized the clinic by painting words such as “LIARS,” “Fund Abortion,” “Jane's Revenge,” and “Fake Clinic” on the walls of the building.
The conduct took place while Durant, 20, was a student at Bowling Green University.
A press release issued by the Justice Department offered additional details about Durant's case and her guilty plea, noting that she had been charged under the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act.
The statute, as the DOJ explains, “prohibits a person from intentionally damaging or destroying the property of a facility because that facility provides reproductive health services.”
Kristen Clarke, assistant attorney general in the DOJ's civil rights division said of the case, “Defacing facilities that provide reproductive health services will not be tolerated in our society. The Justice Department is committed to enforcing the FACE Act to protect all patients who seek reproductive health services and all persons and facilities that provide such services.”
U.S. Attorney Rebecca Lutzko added, “As reflected by today's guilty plea, the United States will enforce federal laws that protect uninterrupted access to all clinics providing reproductive health services, whether they provide women with options that include abortion care or whether they solely encourage women to consider non-abortion alternatives.”
FBI Special Agent in Charge Greg Nelsen noted, “The First Amendment provides a constitutional right to peacefully protest, but Ms. Durant's actions of defacing a reproductive health care center crossed a line.”
Sentencing yet to come
According to the DOJ, sentencing in Durant's case is slated for April 9 of 2024.
Given the misdemeanor nature of the count to which she pleaded guilty, Durant faces a maximum of one year in prison.