The foulest example of the lopsided application of the law today rests with President Biden’s handling of offenses committed by abortion-right protestors and anti-abortion protestors.
The latter have been pursued aggressively while the former have been mostly ignored. Worse still, anti-abortion demonstrators are overwhelmingly peaceful. It is abortion-rights protestors who are more likely to be violent.
What is at issue is the invocation of the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act (FACE Act), legislation that was passed in 1994 that prevents “violent, threatening damaging, and obstructive conduct intended to injure, intimidate, or interfere with the right to seek, obtain, or provide reproductive health services.”
The law’s application is what is most contentious. The most recent example occurred on January 30 when a federal court found six anti-abortion protesters guilty of violation of the FACE Act. The protesters were charged with blocking an abortion clinic entrance in Mt. Juliet, Tennessee, in 2021. They are due to be sentenced on July 2.
No one doubts that protesters blocked the entrance to the clinic. Likewise, no one doubts that they were peaceful. They were singing hymns and praying — and weren’t brandishing firearms.
However, their offenses were considered a felony. As a result, they face up to over ten years in prison, three years of supervised release, and mines as much as $260,000.
What makes this so egregious is that a year and a half after they were locally prosecuted, Biden’s Department of Justice (DOJ) dove in and threw the book at them. What was originally a misdemeanor crime was now considered a FACE Act felony conspiracy.
What was the motivation for the Biden DOJ to become involved? What broke? Associated Attorney General Vanita Gupta provided the answer in December 2022.
Gupta said the overturn of Roe vs. Wade six months earlier triggered the authoritative response.
Gupta acknowledged freely that the decision was a “devastating blow to women throughout the country” and one that increased “the urgency” of the DOJ response, including “enforcement of the FACE Act.”
If there were any doubts that politics were involved in the decision — capturing anti-abortion protesters while permitting abortion rights protesters to slide — it was dealt with before Gupta cited the Dobbs decision that was used to overturn Roe.
That was when Christopher Wray, Director of the FBI, testified before the Senate Homeland Security Committee. Wray admitted, “We have quite several investigations — into attacks or threats against pregnancy resource centers, faith-based organizations, and other pro-life organizations.” Wray also said since the Dobbs decision, “probably in the neighborhood of 70% of our abortion-related violence cases” are against organizations that are pro-life.
Why, then, is it that in 2024, the FBI lists over two dozen examples of violent cases associated with abortion protesters, and all but one was an offense committed by a demonstrator linked to the anti-abortion movement?
Wray knows 70% of offenses of the FACE Act weren’t committed by people opposed to abortion; they were responsible for a mere fraction of the offenses overall.
The data speaks for itself. The DOJ, in 2022, didn’t charge even one abortion rights activist, but it charged 26 anti-abortion protesters with a violation of the FACE Act.
What was most reprehensible was the hands-off approach given to Jane’s Revenge. The group is the most militant group of extremists in favor of abortion.
As pointed out in January 2023 by the Catholic League, Jane’s Revenge frequently uses “incendiary bombs, vandalism, and other forms of property damage” to crush people in the anti-abortion movement. Here are some examples:
Senator Mike Lee addressed the Head of the DOJ, Merrick Garland, in March 2023. Lee said the DOJ had announced charges against 34 individuals for preventing access or vandalizing abortion clinics; however, in the more than 81 reported attacks on pregnancy centers, only two persons had been charged.
Attorney General Garland responded by saying that anti-abortion activists commit their offenses “during the daylight.” It is simple to see who they are, but pro-abortion activists are “doing this at night, in the dark.”
The House’s Homeland Security Committee, led by GOP Representative Chip Roy of Texas, took Director Wray to task in October and raised several crucial issues. The same body lambasted him again in December and honed in on the Mark Houck case.
In September 2022, in an early morning raid, the FBI stormed the home of Mark Houck in response to an alleged violation of the FACE Act a year prior. The Catholic anti-abortion activist was later acquitted, but the FBI has refused to apologize to him, pointed out Roy. Numerous observers believe the FBI was sending a message to anti-abortion activists — watch out!
There’s a pattern that goes beyond abortion protesters. The riots of 2020 and 2021 that Antifa and Black Lives Matter conducted led to the deaths of over two dozen persons and billions of dollars in damaged properties. Why are these savage maniacs allowed to walk our streets freely while anti-abortion protesters are treated like violent criminals?
The Senate and House Homeland Security Committees should not ignore this issue. This disparity cannot be allowed to continue.