Do you know what the FACE Act is and what it means for your pro-life activism? If you’re a Gen Z or Millennial member of the Pro-Life Generation, there’s a fairly good chance you don’t as it was signed into law before your time — but you do still have to abide by it. It’s especially important that you understand this law in a Post-Roe America, as well, because this law has unfortunately become weaponized against pro-lifers after the Dobbs v. Jackson ruling. Here’s what you need to know:
What Is It: The Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act makes it a federal crime to use force, threat of force, or physical obstruction to prevent women from obtaining “reproductive health services,” which include abortions. It also prohibits damaging or destroying a reproductive health services facility. It was signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1994, and it’s still being enforced today.
Both the facility, the woman seeking services, and the federal or state Attorney General may bring the suit, and the first offense of this law is punishable by one year or less in prison. For a nonviolent physical obstruction, the first offense is punishable by six months in prison or a $10,000 fine. Repeat offenders can pay up to $25,000.
Why It Matters: Since the reversal of Roe v. Wade, it has become increasingly obvious that the Department of Justice (DOJ) is using this law to unfairly discriminate against the pro-life movement (while of course not doing anything about incidents of pro-abortion terrorism). In this year alone, the DOJ has charged 26 pro-life activists with FACE Act violations, and many incidents do not appear credible, as in Mark Houck’s case.
This means that the Pro-Life Generation needs to be really careful in their activism — because you can’t save babies or be an effective voice for life if you’re in the clink.
What Should You NOT Do: If you want to make sure you’re properly using your First Amendment rights for the preborn and vulnerable women while staying on the right side of the law, your pro-life activism should never include 1) blocking the entrance to an abortion facility, 2) touching an abortion facility escort, 3) going inside an abortion facility, 4) defacing an abortion facility, 5) or speaking in an escalating manner to abortion facility escorts or women.
These five actions can get you charged with violating the FACE Act — and even more importantly, they aren’t effective ways to save lives. If you want to make a true difference for life, you need to stay on the sidewalks in a law-abiding, peaceful manner. That’s where results happen; that’s where babies are saved.
Stay safe out there, Pro-Life Generation — know your rights, the law, and the most effective ways to truly make a difference for life!
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