California Man Sentenced for Making Threats Against Planned Parenthood

California Man Sentenced for Making Threats Against Planned Parenthood

A woman waits in her car in front of a Planned Parenthood facility in Anaheim, Calif., on Sept. 10, 2020. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

Jill McLaughlin

Jill McLaughlin

11/27/2023

Updated: 12/30/2023

A 34-year-old Ventura County man was sentenced to a year and a half in prison for making death threats against Planned Parenthood in Southern California just as the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced Nov. 27.
Nishith Tharaka Vandebona, who lived in Camarillo at the time, made death threats over the phone at two Planned Parenthood locations. He was sentenced by Los Angeles District Court Judge R. Gary Klausner, who called the phone calls “egregious.”
Mr. Vandebona pleaded guilty June 12 to one misdemeanor count of threatened forcible intimidation under the federal Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act, and one felony count of transmitting threatening communications in interstate commerce. He has remained in federal custody since pleading guilty.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) investigated the case, with the help of the Santa Barbara and Santa Monica police departments, and the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office.
“Mr. Vandebona crossed the line from protected speech to criminal activity when he terrorized his ideological adversaries with death threats,” said Donald Alway, the assistant director in charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office.
On June 24, 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court made its historic decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, finding that the Constitution does not grant citizens the right to abortion. The decision sent the issue back to the states to each decide whether to allow the practice.
On that same day, Mr. Vandebona used an anonymous number to leave a message that contained a death threat on the voicemail for Planned Parenthood of Santa Barbara, a branch of the tax-exempt organization mostly commonly used by women seeking abortion services.
A day later, Mr. Vandebona called Planned Parenthood in Los Angeles and spoke with a call center worker, telling them “I’m calling to let you know that I’m going to come in there and kill all of you, including your staff and your security. You got it? You’re overdue for an attack,” according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
He called the Los Angeles location again within an hour, making several death threats, including saying: “I’m gonna come in there and murder your staff,” according to reports.
Previously, Mr. Vandebona called in a bomb threat in February 2022 to the office of Californians for Population Stabilization, known as (CAPS), a Ventura-based non-profit group that advocates for “zero population growth,” primarily through immigration restrictions.
He also used anonymous phone numbers to make the threatening phone calls to that organization, saying he would kill all of them, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
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Jill McLaughlin

Jill McLaughlin

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Jill McLaughlin is an award-winning journalist covering politics, environment, and statewide issues. She has been a reporter and editor for newspapers in Oregon, Nevada, and New Mexico. Jill was born in Yosemite National Park and enjoys the majestic outdoors, traveling, golfing, and hiking.

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