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What is the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act?

The Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act was signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1994. FACE specifically prohibits “the use of force or threat of force or physical obstruction” to intentionally injure, intimidate, or interfere with someone seeking to enter a facility that provides abortions. FACE also prohibits the same actions at places of religious worship, considered by some legal analysts as a bid by the law’s drafters not to appear to be singling out pro-life activity.

The penalty for a first non-violent violation of FACE is up to one year in prison, and a fine of up to $10,000, in addition to civil penalties of $10,000 or more. Subsequent non-violent convictions carry a punishment of up to 18 months in prison and a fine of up to $25,000, in addition to civil penalties. These penalties are far more severe than the penalties already imposed by state law for the acts prohibited by FACE.

Sources:

Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act of 1994. 18 U.S. Code ยง 248. http://www.justice.gov/crt/about/spl/facestat.php.

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