DOJ’s Kristen Clarke Celebrates Prison Time for Pro-Life Activists

DOJ's Kristen Clarke Celebrates Prison Time for Pro-Life Activists

The Justice Department’s Kristen Clarke issued a statement this week celebrating news that seven pro-life activists would spend time in prison for attempting to stop abortions from taking place.

Clarke, who heads the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division and is responsible for enforcing the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act, painted the pro-life activists as violent radicals in her remarks: “Violence has no place in our national discourse on reproductive health.”

The activists’ actions were nonviolent, and the DOJ’s release on the matter even notes that they “passively” resisted “their anticipated arrests.”

“Using force, threatening to use force or physically obstructing access to reproductive health care is unlawful,” she added, before referring to the 1993 murder of a Florida abortionist. “As we mark the 30th anniversary of the FACE Act, it’s important that we not lose sight of the history of violence against reproductive health care providers, including the murder of Dr. David Gunn in Florida—tragic and horrific events that led to passage of the law.”

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 Justice Department will continue to protect both patients seeking reproductive health services and providers of those services,” the DOJ official concluded. “We will hold accountable those who seek to interfere with access to reproductive health services in our country.”   

U.S. Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke attends an event honoring the anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision at the Justice Department on May 14, 2024, in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

Lauren Handy is the pro-life activist who received the longest sentence. She will spend 57 months in prison and was the first person sentenced for violating the FACE Act.

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 Roe would soon 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.”

The DOJ’s release on the seven pro-lifers who were sentenced to prison time this week describes how the pro-life activists, motivated by a desire to protect unborn babies from abortion, planned a “blockade” at Washington Surgi-Clinic in the Foggy Bottom neighborhood of Washington, D.C. The pro-life activists describe this type of activity as a “rescue,” hoping to stop mothers from aborting their unborn.

Under the FACE Act, such activity is considered a crime. The FACE Act prohibits use of force, obstruction, or property damage intended to interfere with “reproductive health care services.” Since 2022, the year the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, the Justice Department has hit at least 40 pro-life activists with FACE-related charges at five different rescues or blockades.

The DOJ describes the D.C. event as a “clinic incursion,” noting that “the defendants met with other co-conspirators to plan their crime, which included making a fake patient appointment to ensure the group’s entry into the clinic, using chains and locks to barricade the facility and passively resisting their anticipated arrests to prolong the blockade.”

“The clinic invasion was advertised on social media as a ‘historic’ event that was live-streamed on Facebook,” the DOJ said “The defendants’ forced entry into the clinic at the outset of the invasion resulted in injury to a clinic nurse. During the blockade, one patient had to climb through a receptionist window to access the clinic, while another laid in the hallway outside of the clinic in physical distress, unable to gain access to the clinic.”

The case was investigated by the FBI’s Washington Field Office. Assistant Director in Charge David Sundberg pointed to the matter as evidence that “the FBI and our judicial system will not tolerate the obstruction of civil rights.”

“The FBI will continue to investigate FACE Act violations in all jurisdictions, so patients and providers can exercise their right to receive or provide lawful reproductive health care without the threat of violence or intimidation,” he added.

Original source

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About the Author

Tony Beasley
Tony Beasley writes for the Local News, US and the World Section of ANH.