FACE Act targeted by GOP bills but real target is law-abusing DOJ

FACE Act targeted by GOP bills but real target is law-abusing DOJ

FACE Act targeted by GOP bills but real target is law-abusing DOJ

An abortion clinic law that is threatening peaceful pro-life protesters with prison is the target of a Republican congressman and a Republican senator.

Citing an “unconstitutional” federal law being misused by the “weaponized” Biden administration, Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) has introduced legislation in the House to repeal the FACE Act, or Freedom of Access to Clinical Entrances Act.

Signed into law in 1994 by Bill Clinton, the law made it a federal crime to physically obstruct the entrance to an abortion clinic or to interfere with staff, volunteers, and patients. 

A similar bill to repeal the FACE Act has been introduced in the Senate by Mike Lee (R-UT).

Roy, Rep. Chip (R-Texas) Roy

In a joint press release describing their bills, Roy and Lee argue the FACE Act is unconstitutional because “police powers” are reserved for state governments.

“Congress infringed on the states’ police power when they passed the FACE Act,” Sen. Lee argues. “The Biden DOJ has weaponized this constitutionally suspect law against pro-life sidewalk counselors while failing to protect pregnancy centers and churches from violent attacks. It’s time to repeal the FACE Act.”

The controversial law has been challenged over the years in federal courts, which have upheld it, but the pro-life community and their allies in Congress are now witnessing the abortion-obsessed Biden administration wage war on pro-life activists. That ramped-up attack, approved and ordered by the Department of Justice, comes after Roe v Wade was overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court last year, triggering anger and vows of revenge by Democrats and the Far Left who view abortion as a sacred-like right.  

Houck prosecution woke up many

The most infamous example of that alleged abuse of power is the federal prosecution of Mark Houck, a Catholic leader and pro-life leader. He was arrested in an FBI SWAT team raid at his home even after his attorneys had told federal prosecutors their client would show up in court if he was indicted by a grand jury in Philly.    

Houck faced 10 years in prison if convicted of violating the FACE Act after shoving a Planned Parenthood clinic escort who was verbally abusing his son. 

Houck’s attorneys at Thomas More Society have told AFN they pleaded with federal prosecutors to rethink their case, since video evidence of the incident showed Houck was 50 feet from the entrance and did not violate the FACE Act. The same prosecutors were also reminded they lost a similar FACE Act prosecution to Thomas More two years earlier, but that legal advice went ignored.

Houck, Mark (Pro-life activist) Houck

Thomas More attorneys also learned the Department of Justice was sending a Washington-based federal prosecutor to Pennsylvania to oversee Houck’s prosecution, suggesting how important winning a conviction was to the top bosses in the Washington office. That federal prosecutor was Sanjay Patel, an attorney in the Civil Rights Division.

In closing arguments, Patel told jurors the trial is not about “viewpoints” or about “people’s views on reproductive health,” either.

“It’s about an aggressive man,” the prosecutor insisted, “who used his size and his youth to shove a grandfather because the clinic provides services he opposes.”

Once his case went to the jury, Houck was acquitted after only an hour of jury deliberation.

‘Disturbing’ to witness DOJ in action

Rep. Roy’s attempt to repeal the FACE Act has caught the attention of numerous groups, including the Mississippi-based American Family Association. Using its “Action Alert” email list, AFA is asking its supporters to contact congressional lawmakers and urge them to support and co-sponsor Roy’s bill.

Wildmon, Walker (AFA VP operations) Wildmon

Houck’s arrest and prosecution are mentioned in the AFA alert but AFA spokesman Walker Wildmon says the number of unjust prosecutions keeps growing. 

“It’s very disturbing,” Wildmon says, “how the Biden Department of Justice is weaponizing this federal statute to go after pro-lifers.”

Other organizations who support the bills to repeal the FACE Act include Family Research Council, Students for Life Action, Catholic Vote, Susan B. Anthony List, Live Action, Citizens for Renewing America, and Thomas More Society.

Editor's Note: The American Family Association is the parent organization of the American Family News Network, which operates AFN.net.