Biden Accused of Abusing FACE Act to Silence Opposition

( – Critics have accused President Joe Biden of abusing the Freedom to Access Clinic Entrances Act (FACE) to target dissenting voices.

The FACE Act was introduced under President Clinton in 1994 and prohibits the use or threat of force to block entry to reproductive clinics or to intimidate women attempting to get an abortion. It also forbids the use or threat of force to intimidate those wishing to exercise their First Amendment rights at a place of worship.

In May, the Department of Justice (DoJ) prosecuted nine pro-life activists who had staged a sit-in in a Washington D.C. abortion clinic in 2020. The group was there to protest late-term abortions, which are legal in the city. They handed out roses to pregnant women, sang, and at some point during the protest linked arms to block women from entering the clinic to receive abortions. One of the group, 30-year-old Lauren Handy, was sentenced to 57 months in prison for her part in proceedings. Fellow activists John Hinshaw, 69, and Will Goodman were handed sentences of 21 and 27 months respectively.

Meanwhile, critics have pointed out that despite the DoJ’s vigorous application of FACE to anti-abortion protestors, little to no action has been taken regarding attacks on Catholic churches. Following the Supreme Court’s 2022 decision to overturn the Roe v. Wade ruling, some pro-choice groups such as “Ruth Sent Us” threatened to target Catholic churches in particular as part of a so-called “Summer of Rage.” Since May 2022, Catholic churches in the U.S. have been subject to 259 attacks, with 30 reported attacks so far in 2024.

While Pres. Biden’s DoJ has been accused of ignoring these attacks, despite the FACE act’s protection of places of worship, it has seen fit to doggedly pursue anti-abortion activists. Even as Handy received her nearly five-year-long prison sentence for her 2020 protest, the DoJ launched a new lawsuit against her in the same month. This lawsuit also uses the FACE Act, this time to target Handy and six other activists accused of blocking access to abortion clinics in Ohio in 2021.

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