DOJ Sues Anti-Abortion Protester

Women’s health activists have come to expect throngs of protesters in front of clinics.  Some even know the protesters by name.  Unfortunately, abortion opponents are commonplace at clinics, regardless of the wide array of services provided by those clinics. 

Despite the existence of a federal law designed to protect clinic patients and staff, oftentimes those protesters go beyond the waiving of signs and singing of hymns.  The law, Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act, or FACE, is nearly twenty years old and is designed specifically to prevent protesters from interfering with access to clinics that provide abortion services.  But like most laws, its only as effective as its enforcement and over the past ten years its enforcement has been all but non-existent.  After its passage in 1994 a total of 69 lawsuits have been filed.  Only 25 of those were filed since 2000.

That may be changing though.  US Attorney General Eric Holder filed suit last week, seeking an injunction preventing notorious Florida abortion protester Mary Susan Pine from entering any driveway leading to the clinic and anyone associated with her from blocking women from entering the clinic.  If the Department of Justice is successful Pine would face a $10,000 fine. 

The lawsuit comes after a promise made by Holder to vigorously enforce FACE in the wake of the murder of Dr. Tiller, an abortion provider who was gunned down at his church in Wichita, Kansas by anti-abortion zealot Scott Roeder.  Just a week before Dr. Tiller’s murder, Roeder was seen gluing the locks of Dr. Tiller’s clinic–in violation of FACE–before ultimately escalating his actions to murder.  This represents the sixth lawsuit filed by DOJ since Dr. Tiller’s death.

And that is the whole purpose of FACE- to prevent ideologues from having their actions escalate from vandalism to murder.  It’s not too simple to ask that had FACE enforcement been taken seriously would Dr. Tiller’s murder have been prevented?

Like Roeder, Pine has a criminal history of harassing clinic patients and staff.  In 2003 she was charged with trespassing on clinic grounds.  The clinic has also been the target of escalating violence, including an unsolved 2006 fire.

And like Roeder, Pine insists that she is the victim here as the lawsuit represents some effort to squelch her First Amendment rights.  But Pine is not protesting outside a government office, she is protesting outside private property–a medical clinic to be exact.  Which is why more and more women’s health practitioners are embracing moving abortion services into general care facilities as an effort to stamp down abusive protesting tactics.  This Florida suit makes a good argument as to why this kind of move should happen.

photo courtesy of blatch via Flickr


Alice Mechler
Alice Mechler5 years ago

Who or what gives Pine or anyone else the right to make a woman's decisions on her own health care? She will probably answer, "God."....but I don't believe in her "god"! Even the First Amendment does NOT give one the right to force one's religious beliefs on another! I say YES!, Sue them....fine them, incarcerate them if necessary! (And THAT GOES FOR LAWMAKERS, TOO!).

April Thompson
April Thompson7 years ago

Only women deserve to make the choice according to their circumstances!

Sarah D.
Sarah D7 years ago

Too bad we can't sue all the anti-choicers.

Lidia E Feliciano
Lidia E F7 years ago

I am pro-choice.It is a woman's body and her decision is between herself and her partner or absentee partner and god.Women are not objects to be controlled by the gov or the masses.I am so fed up with society wanting to control women and order them around in regards to her life,body and how she chooses to conduct herself.According to new age teachers,the spirit of the baby doesn't enter until the moment of birth.It can enter and stay for awhile but often chooses to go back to heaven and wait.

Regardless of that,women own their own bodies and have the right to decide for themselves.Most often than not,men do not carry the burden of raising the child due to their own selfish ways and are not there to spend time playing with their children and teaching them solid values and bring joy.

Aditi Acharya
.7 years ago

only the woman has the right to take decision in this case.

Aditi Acharya
.7 years ago

only the woman has the right to take decision in this case.

Jade H.
Jade H7 years ago

My questions to anyone who is "pro-life" at any cost are simple: Are YOU on at least one, if not several adoption lists? Are you willing to adopt a crack baby, or meth baby, or bi-racial baby, or Downs Syndrome baby or HIV positive baby? Are you already to parent of adopted children? If the answer is no...take your sign and your BS and put it where the sun doesn't shine! What a farce!

Hope S.
Hope S7 years ago

She broke the law and now she must face the consequences.
Frankly abortion is a personal matter and never should have come before the courts. Since it did and it is now legal with some restrictions the matter should be closed. The protesters do not know the circumstances of the women causing them to want an abortion and should mind their own business. If they really want to do something they should adopt a child, volunteer their help to orphanages, or do something for a child that has no home or living in a home without sufficient funds to supply to meet their child's/children's needs. In this economy there are plenty of people and their children who could use some help. But of course they wouldn't end up in the news.

Dianne P.
Dianne Prang7 years ago

This is great news! Mr Holder, thank you for holding to laws against these extremists.

What I do not get, nor can I ever get is why anti-abortionist activists go to these extreme measures over abortion...leading to the killing of doctors etc. This is activism at it's worst.
Such dispicable vicious acts are against the law. It is that simple.

This is not a blog on abortion yes or no! It is about laws to protect innocent people who are operating inside the law, yet unfortunately face 'criminals' who insist on creating havoc regardless of law.

If I ever was inclined to be against abortion (which I am not), I would be ashamed to be affiliated with these god - fearing criminals.

In a civilized society, we use the power of votes and elect those who we believe will uphold the laws of the land. Mr Holder, you are doing your job. These are criminals.... it is

Nicole C.
Past Member 7 years ago

I wish FACE was taken more seriously.