Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke (Department of Justice/YouTube)

(The Daily Signal) — Following the announcement of prison sentences for pro-life activists last week, the Department of Justice filed a lawsuit on Monday against seven pro-life activists and two pro-life organizations.

The DOJ’s lawsuit alleges that the pro-life organizations, Citizens for a Pro Life Society and Red Rose Rescue, as well as activists Laura Gies, Lauren Handy, Clara McDonald, Monica Miller, Christopher Moscinski, Jay Smith, and Audrey Whipple, violated the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act when they sought to stop abortions from taking place at Ohio abortion clinics.

Notably, the DOJ does not use the word “abortion,” but rather “reproductive health services” — except in a statement from U.S. Attorney Rebecca C. Lutzko for the Northern District of Ohio.

“Obstructing people from accessing reproductive health care and physically obstructing providers from offering it are unlawful,” Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke, the head of the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division, said in a statement.

“Congress passed the FACE Act 30 years ago this month in response to acts of violence, threats of violence and physical obstruction at reproductive health clinics in our country,” she added. “The Civil Rights Division is committed to enforcing federal law to protect the rights of those who seek and those who provide access to reproductive health services.”

The DOJ’s complaint seeks “compensatory damages, monetary penalties and injunctive relief as provided by the FACE Act.”

Handy, one of the activists mentioned in the release, was sentenced to 57 months in prison for trying to stop abortions at a Washington, D.C., abortion clinic. Clarke similarly issued a statement last week celebrating news that Handy and six other pro-life activists would spend time in prison for attempting to stop abortions from taking place.

The FACE Act is a 1994 law that supposedly protects both abortion clinics and pregnancy resource centers, but has been heavily enforced by President Joe Biden’s DOJ against pro-lifers since the June 2022 overturning of Roe v. Wade.

The enforcement of the FACE Act is led by Clarke, who, following a report from The Daily Signal, recently admitted that she hid an arrest and its subsequent expungement from investigators when she was confirmed to her Justice Department post.

The president’s critics have accused Biden and the DOJ of weaponizing the FACE Act against pro-lifers while failing to charge pro-abortion criminals for the hundreds of attacks on pregnancy resource centers since the May 2022 leak of the draft Supreme Court opinion indicating that Roe would soon thereafter be overturned.

Some, among them Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, and Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, have called for the repeal of the FACE Act, arguing that it serves no purpose but to target pro-life activists.

“The Biden administration is using the FACE Act to give pro-life activists and senior citizens lengthy prison terms for nonviolent offenses and protests — all while turning a blind eye to the violence, arson, and riots conducted on behalf of ‘approved’ leftist causes,” Lee told The Daily Signal in a Tuesday statement.

“Unequal enforcement of the law is a violation of the law,” he added, “and men and women who try to expose the horrors of abortion are being unjustly persecuted for their motivations.”

This article was originally published at The Daily Signal


Mary Margaret Olohan

Mary Margaret Olohan is a reporter for The Daily Signal.

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