The Next Battle For Choice: The FACE Act

The Department of Justice has stepped up efforts to enforce the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act, and it is working.

How can we tell?  It’s about to become the next campaign in the war on reproductive rights.

Passed in 1994 during the Clinton administration, FACE was a direct response to the growing physical threat against reproductive health providers and their patients.  The statute specifically prohibits the use of force and threats (including physical obstruction) to injure, intimidate or interfere with, or attempt to do any of those things to interfere with obtaining or providing reproductive health care.

Not only does the FACE Act provide for a means by which the Department of Justice can respond to these threats, it provides an individual private right of action, meaning that targets of violence and violent threats do not have to wait for the government to act.

Prosecuting a FACE Act violation can be tricky stuff because it’s a law targeted at a narrow subset of unprotected speech: incitement of violence making their prosecutions ripe for constitutional review.

And that is exactly what is happening.  Angel Dillard not only survived an attempted injunction after suggesting Dr. Mila Means would someday have a bomb planted under her car because it was not a “true threat”, she’s now suing, claiming the lawsuit against her has had “an unlawful chilling effect” on her free speech and religious rights.

That’s right.  Preventing terroristic threats — the exact thing the FACE Act was passed to do — is an assault on the First Amendment rights of anti-choice activists.  Cue federal court jurisdiction and an organized, coherent attempt to run this issue all the way up to the Supreme Court.

Now consider the constitutional attacks on the FACE Act in conjunction with attempts to legalize the murder of abortion providers as justifiable homicide, first by the Roeder defense and then in Nebraska and Iowa and South Dakota and there’s good cause for alarm.  The stakes in this battle have never been higher.

 

photo courtesy of infowidget via Flickr

102 comments

Pego R.
Pego R.5 years ago

Yeah, I remember when they were recruiting like that. Way back in the early '90s Pat Robertson sent me an invitation to join in this activity and come there to get training for doing stealth takeovers of elections. Running on one platform, while intending to fulfill these radical religious aims. True story.

Glenna Jones-kachtik
Glenna Kachtik5 years ago

Lynn C - thanks for that story. I read it. It is pretty scary. This guy was a Baptist Preacher until a divorce. They kicked him out of the pulpit. He learned some things about life afterward.

Worth the read - I am posting the link:

http://www.alternet.org/rights/151034/i_was_a_right-wing_evangelical_pastor_--_until_i_saw_the_light/

Pego R.
Pego R.5 years ago

Either you are dim or you are being intentionally obtuse regarding the many variations of language and label from state to state, because you know you are wrong;
http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20110303140511AAlUSBT

http://definitions.uslegal.com/t/terroristic-threat/

Victoria M.
Past Member 5 years ago

so sick of these offensive people.

Bernadette P.
Berny p.5 years ago

Pego R....I agree with you 100%.....the law is the law and this woman should have been punished...no matter WHO she knew!!!

Robert Shaffer
Robert Shaffer5 years ago

Thanks.

patricia m lasek
patricia lasek5 years ago

Now she's suing, "claiming the lawsuit against her has had "an unlawful chilling effect" on her free speech and religious rights."?
Give me a break! I can't wait to see how this comes out.


Danielle Herie
Danielle Herie5 years ago

THANK YOU

Gene W.
Gene W.5 years ago

@Pego, I did a national database search for "Intent to Menace" the only place that it comes up is in CA and that is in regard to:
1. Rape by menace, 2. Sodomy by menace, 3. Kidnapping by menace. We all are aware that CA is under a Supreme Court Order to reduce their prison population by 25% (32000 - 37000) prisoners so I don't think I would use CA as a basis for my argument for any law.
Regardless, your argument is not backed up by the Federal Judge that is hearing this action. Therefore you would be on notice that such action on the part of someone that you thought was menacing, was from your wrong thinking, and if you arrested them you would be in danger of being counter sued for exceeding your authority.

Ameer T.
Ameer T.5 years ago

Only in the "DIS-United right wing States Of America"