DOJ using FACE Act prosecutions to target pro-life advocates

by mcardinal

Lauren C. Moye, FISM News

 

A high-ranking Department of Justice (DOJ) official admitted that a new focus has been placed on prosecuting violations of the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act, though statistics from these arrests and prosecutions indicate that the DOJ has used the Act to intentional target those in the pro-life movement.

Arrests of pro-life advocates have dominated charges made under the FACE Act, even though the equally protected pregnancy resource clinics have endured continued violent attacks since the overturning of Roe v. Wade – instances that have largely gone unprosecuted.

Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta made the admission during the DOJ Civil Rights Division 65th Anniversary celebration on Dec. 6, where she said that the division was facing new challenges in protecting civil and constitutional rights that were “sometimes more insidious” than those faced in the previous decades.

Minutes later, Gupta specified one of these challenges as the Supreme Court decision that ended a federal mandate for all states to provide abortion services. She cited the DOJ enforcing the FACE Act as one step taken to supposedly protect civil liberties.

“Earlier this year, in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the Supreme Court dealt a devastating blow to women throughout the country, taking away the constitutional right to abortion and increasing the urgency of our work, including enforcement of the FACE Act, to ensure continued lawful access to reproductive services,” Gupta stated.

The FACE Act has been placed in the spotlight this year after the arrest of several pro-life advocates. This is partly due to the shocking raid performed by Federal Bureau of Investigation agents on the home of a father who had already signaled he would cooperate by turning himself in.

However, the FACE Act does not specifically protect abortion services. It protects all clinics that provide “reproductive health services,” which also includes “pro-life pregnancy counseling services and any other pregnancy support facility” providing care according to the DOJ

This statement was recently backed by Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legislative Affairs Carlos Uriarte in a letter sent to Rep. Chip Roy (R-Tex.) last week obtained by The Daily Signal. Uriarte quoted the DOJ web page in his letter.

Uriarte wrote, “Since the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the Department has received multiple reports of potentially unlawful conduct directed at pregnancy centers, their staff, and their patients. Federal authorities are investigating these reported incidents and are working to identify the perpetrators.”

Despite the assertion that they are looking into the attacks on pro-life facilities, the Daily Signal noted that the department provided “very little real information about the Justice Department’s investigations into the vast array of attacks on pregnancy centers” that have occurred since the leak of the Dobbs decision in May.

The FACE ACT also protects religious freedom to enter a place of religious worship and creates an additional charge for those who intentionally damage or destroy a protected facility. Force, threats, physical obstruction, intimidations, or attempts to injure all constitute a prosecutable offense under the Act.

Statistics show that charges made this year under the FACE Act have heavily favored abortion clinics despite the noticeable uptick in violence against pro-life centers.

The DOJ shows that 19 of the 23 listed charges directly specify an abortion clinic or Planned Parenthood location. The remainder of the list are unclear, but one of these incidents matches the description that led to the arrest of atheist pro-life advocate and Rehumanize director Herb Geraghty and nine other individuals.

Meanwhile, Catholic Vote has recorded 100 attacks on their religious worship facilities and 77 attacks on pro-life organization buildings and crisis pregnancy resource centers since May, when the Dobbs draft decision was initially leaked.

FISM covered many of these early attacks. Jane’s Revenge has also called for violence as recently as last week when they threatened a mass shooting against a Catholic student ministry in Bellevue, Nebraska if abortion clinics lost a legal right to function in the area.

The DOJ has been slow to investigate or prosecute these violations. For one of these incidents, the fire-bombing of an upstate New York resource center, it took nearly six months just for the FBI to release the surveillance video and put out a public call for information.

Editor’s Note:

Pre-Born!, a nationwide leader in the fight for life, has been a longtime partner of FISM News. They work to place ultrasound machines in pro-life facilities and fund ultrasound sessions as well as physical, emotional, and spiritual support for young mothers. 

If you want to know how to join in the battle for the protection of human life, visit our friends at PreBorn by going to their website or by calling their phone line: Dial #250 and say the keyword “Baby” to learn more.

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