Pro-life activist suffered stroke in solitary confinement under FACE Act charges

The entrance signage for the United States Department of Justice Building in Washington D.C. The Department of Justice, the U.S. law enforcement and administration of Justice government agency.
The entrance signage for the United States Department of Justice Building in Washington D.C. The Department of Justice, the U.S. law enforcement and administration of Justice government agency. | Getty Images

A Christian woman reportedly suffered a stroke while in solitary confinement in Virginia after facing charges under the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act for protesting at abortion clinics.

Heather Idoni, 62, who faces up to 50 years in federal prison and more than $1 million in fines for protesting at abortion clinics in Washington, D.C., Michigan and Tennessee, was taken to the hospital for a stroke earlier this month while being held at Northern Neck Regional Jail, according to the pro-life activist group Operation Rescue.

Idoni was reportedly stabilized and taken back to jail. She awaits sentencing on May 17. 

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Idoni was found guilty last August of a felony conspiracy against rights and a FACE Act offense related to a protest at the Surgi-Clinic abortion clinic in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 22, 2020.

Idoni was among the 11 protesters the U.S. Department of Justice slapped with FACE Act charges for protesting outside the Carafem Health Center Clinic near Nashville on March 15, 2021.

Accused of intimidating and interfering "with employees of the clinic and a patient who was seeking reproductive health services," Idoni was found guilty in January. Collectively, the charges she faces for her protests at multiple clinics nationwide could see her sentenced to half a century in jail.

Idoni said during a recent interview with LifeSiteNews that she was held in solitary confinement for at least 22 days as punishment for sharing food with other prisoners and was permitted to leave her continually lit cell for only two hours in the middle of the night.

Calvin Zastrow, another pro-life advocate facing FACE Act charges related to a 2023 pro-life protest at a clinic in Sterling Heights, Michigan, that Idoni attended, told the outlet that the judge in the case was shocked when the U.S. Marshals brought a shackled Idoni into the courtroom during a recent hearing.

The marshal reportedly only released Idoni's wrists from her shackles upon protest from the judge but kept her waist and feet restrained.

Idoni remains hopeful despite her predicament, expressing her desire that "God is going to be glorified" by her suffering and that she has "never not felt His presence" throughout her imprisonment.

Idoni's supporters have called for her release. 

"During her incarceration and even post stroke, Heather has been denied the insulin she needs to treat her diabetes," progressive pro-life activist and 2024 Democratic presidential hopeful Terrisa Bukovinac wrote in a tweet. "After her surgery she was required to wait two days before indicating she was a diabetic, who just had heart surgery, in order to access her prescriptions."

"Every day that Heather spends behind bars puts her in greater danger of death," Bukovinac, founder of the Progressive Anti-Abortion Uprising, added. "Her husband, children, and grandchildren need her home safe. Free Heather Idoni Now!"

Other pro-life activists being prosecuted under the FACE Act include Paulette Harlow, 75 who has been under house arrest and barred from attending mass related to her October 2020 activism at the Surgi-Clinic abortion clinic, according to Life Site News.

Another is Eva Edl, 88, who grew up under communist rule in Eastern Europe and was imprisoned in a concentration camp. She recently explained that she expects to die in jail for her pro-life advocacy and expressed concern that the totalitarian tactics from which her family fled are emerging in the U.S.

In February, former President Donald Trump brought up the DOJ's pursuit of the pro-life protesters in Tennessee, claiming it shows an increasingly evident anti-Christian agenda from the Biden administration that resembles communist regimes of the past.

"This is a communist state, just so you understand," Trump said during a speech at the National Religious Broadcasters 2024 International Christian Media Convention in Nashville this past February. 

"This is the beginning of a communist state, whether it's [my indictments] or any one of another thousand things that are going on," he continued. "This is the only way they're going to be able to stay in office because they're running a regime that is so incompetent. Nobody's ever seen anything like it."

Jon Brown is a reporter for The Christian Post. Send news tips to

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