It’s a topsy-turvy world when Germany, infamous for its dark history of curbing civil liberties, emerges as a champion of free expression. Remarkably, even in places like Moscow and Hong Kong, often criticized for human rights abuses, pro-life advocates like 40 Days for Life experience more freedom to express their views than in U.S. cities like New York and Philadelphia.

For years, 40 Days for Life worked peacefully, even cooperating with the Department of Justice (DOJ) under presidents from George W. Bush to Joe Biden—until roughly 2021, that is. Up until that point, these organizations held peaceful vigils, often backed by local law enforcement. But the recent overturning of Roe v. Wade has sparked a dramatic shift, transforming these groups into targets of Stasi-like government actions.

If you think this is an exaggeration, consider the chilling case of Mark Houck. An average American citizen and father of three, Houck’s only “crime” was his peaceful pro-life stance. That alone earned him an FBI raid on his home, leaving his family and children traumatized. This isn’t just troubling; it’s a blaring wake-up call that the government can now invade your home just for holding views they deem as the “wrong” opinion.

And Mark is not alone. Post-Roe v. Wade’s overturning, 64-year-old New Yorker Debra Vitagliano had her Constitutional rights bulldozed by Westchester County’s “bubble zone law.” It’s a grim new world: step within 100 feet of an abortion clinic and face a staggering $5,000 fine and potential jail time. It feels as if our cherished First Amendment has been shredded before our very eyes.

In the span of a year, the DOJ has indicted 26 pro-life individuals under the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act (FACE Act)—a law that elicited only four indictments in 2021. Strikingly, every single indictment has targeted pro-lifers. But when it comes to attacks on pro-life centers, suddenly the FACE Act loses its teeth. It’s increasingly difficult to see the DOJ’s actions as anything other than selectively enforcing the law against those with pro-life views.

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The DOJ is far from the only actor in this disconcerting drama. Consider the FDA’s potentially illegal approval of abortion drugs like RU47—a move that was previously unthinkable. In addition, the U.S. military has shifted its policy to not only funding abortions, but suggesting that the pinnacle of military service for women is their ability to end the life of their unborn child. Some of us thought the military was for national defense.

Tragically and, frankly, unacceptably, abortion has become a government sacrament, throwing the sanctity of life out the window.

But this isn’t just an American issue—it’s a global crisis, unfolding even in nations that have long been considered beacons of liberty like the United Kingdom. The arrest of Isabel Vaughan-Spruce, a leading figure in the UK March for Life, for silently praying near an abortion clinic should be a red flag for us all. In Orwellian “censorship zones,” even the act of personal prayer could lead to criminal charges. This is reality, not dystopian fiction.

Peaceful expression has become a sudden threat because the radical Left sees their prized issue, abortion, finally under fire. The abortion issue has been their rallying cry, behind which they could disguise their agenda as pro-freedom. But it is the opposite. We’re facing an alarming clampdown on pro-life views and an erosion of free speech broadly.

This struggle extends beyond the realm of abortion, touching the very core of America’s foundational liberties. In this fight, 40 Days for Life asserts itself not merely as an observer but as an active force challenging government overreach. Mark Houck, the 40 Days for Life volunteer who’s home was raided by an FBI SWAT team, is now spearheading a lawsuit against the DOJ for their blatant misuse of power over a faulty investigation.

This legal action by the Houck family epitomizes the struggle against an imbalance of power—the kind that targets individuals for their beliefs. Their fight for accountability, challenging the tactics of those in power, marks a refusal to accept a government that so blatantly overreaches in its actions against pro-lifers and dissenters alike.

As these freedoms hang in the balance, the need for unity has never been greater. We must safeguard the freedoms that have built our nation. If we waver, the bullies—those who drown out dissent for their own agendas—will win.

LifeNews Note: Shawn Carney is President and CEO of 40 Days for Life, the world’s largest pro-life organization, and bestselling author of 4 books, including What to Say When: The Complete New Guide to Discussing Abortion. Follow on Twitter: @CarneyShawn

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