1994 May 12

Abortion Clinic Access Law (FACE) Passes in Congress


In response to nationwide attempts by anti-abortion activists to block the entrances to abortion clinics, Congress passed the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) bill on this day. The law outlawed blocking the entrances to abortion clinics and made it a crime to threaten or use force against anyone seeking to enter a reproductive health clinic. The law does not prohibit protesting at abortion clinics. Shouting is protected as long as it does not involve threats.

For incidents of violence by anti-abortion fanatics, see the murder of Dr. Barnett Slepian, on October 23, 1998, and Dr. George Tiller, on May 31, 2009.

Prohibited: “…by force or threat of force or by physical obstruction, intentionally injures, intimidates or interferes with or attempts to injure, intimidate or interfere with any person because that person is or has been, or in order to intimidate such person or any other person or any class of persons from, obtaining or providing reproductive health services….”

Watch an anti-abortion clinic confrontation: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cS-BzFDOmq0

Read: Carole Joffe, Dispatches from the Abortion Wars: The Costs of Fanaticism to Doctors, Patients, and the Rest of Us (2009)

Watch the president of NARAL debate abortion clinic protection laws: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AWl16941pw0

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