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Attorney general pledges to protect abortion clinics in Texas that may come ‘under attack’

<i>WIN MCNAMEE/AFP/POOL/Getty Images</i><br/>U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland.
POOL/AFP via Getty Images
U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland.

By Christina Carrega and Tierney Sneed, CNN

Attorney General Merrick Garland pledged Monday to protect abortion clinics in Texas by enforcing a federal law that prohibits making threats against patients seeking reproductive health services and obstructing clinic entrances.

While the Justice Department continues to explore legal avenues for challenging the six-week abortion ban in Texas, Garland said in a statement that the department has reached out to US attorneys’ offices and FBI field offices in Texas and across the country.

“The department will provide support from federal law enforcement when an abortion clinic or reproductive health center is under attack,” Garland said. “We will not tolerate violence against those seeking to obtain or provide reproductive health services, physical obstruction or property damage in violation of the FACE Act.”

The FACE Act “prohibits the use or threat of force and physical obstruction that injures, intimidates, or interferes with a person seeking to obtain or provide reproductive health services,” Garland said in the statement. It also prohibits property damage of a facility providing reproductive health services.

“The department has consistently obtained criminal and civil remedies for violations of the FACE Act since it was signed into law in 1994, and it will continue to do so now,” Garland said.

The Monday statement from Garland is the most detailed look yet at what tools the Biden administration believes it has at its disposal to respond to the Texas abortion ban, which went into effect on Wednesday.

The FACE Act — which stands for the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act — has historically been used in situations where entrances to clinics are physically being blocked by anti-abortion activists. If violence is used to obstruct clinic access, the law comes with the threat of fines up to $100,000 — or more for repeat offenders — as well as the potential for prison time. Nonviolent actions in violation of the law carry potential fines up to $5,000 for the first offense and up to $25,000 for repeat offenders.

Garland’s statement said that the department will enforce the FACE Act while it “urgently explores all options to challenge Texas SB8 in order to protect the constitutional rights of women and other persons.”

The US Supreme Court last week declined a request by clinics that it step in to block the Texas law from going into effect. The five-vote conservative majority pointed to procedural reasons for why the high court wasn’t intervening at this point. The Texas law was designed specifically with the goal of making it more difficult for clinics to obtain federal court orders blocking enforcement of the law. Instead of creating criminal penalties for abortions conducted after a fetal heartbeat is detected, the Texas legislature has tasked private citizens with enforcing the law by bringing private litigation against clinics — and anyone else who assists a woman in obtaining an abortion after six weeks. A federal lawsuit that clinics brought challenging the law is now stalled in the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, and abortion rights advocates have also looked to state courts as an option for where to take the legal fight next.

Since the law went into effect, clinics across Texas have stopped offering abortions after six weeks, or have shuttered their doors altogether.

President Joe Biden previously promised a “whole of government” response to the Texas law.

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  1. So turning in an abortion clinic to the proper authorities under Texas law and suing the baby killers is a threat of force or physical force applicable under the FACE Act? Ridiculous. The whole Biden administration to include DOJ are baby killers.

  2. “We will not tolerate violence against those seeking to obtain or provide reproductive health services, physical obstruction or property damage in violation of the FACE Act.”
    Seeking to obtain or provide reproductive health services? That’ saying Afghanistan women are seeking protection from the Taliban.

      1. That’s how Roe v Wade got started back in 1969 in Texas nitwit. Norma McCorvey was Jane Roe. After the so called landmark decision she recanted and became anti-abortion. She kept the baby instead of aborting it. Texas only allowed medical exceptions where the mother’s health would be harmed. Rape and incest were never excluded so where have you been on this issue for the last 50 years. Nitwit!

        1. Unlike you we are devote Christians and not a devil worshipper like you so not applicable. So are you claiming you raped your mother or sisters? What an idiot!

          1. Abbot is the one forcing victims of RAPE and INCEST to have babies. Don’t be mad at me! Blame Abbot and his religious Taliban for their actions. Guys like you want to get rich turning in women who want abortions by getting 10k dollars a pop

          2. No such thing as the devil? Tell that to the Satanic Temple devil worshippers. They came out this weekend against the Texas 6 week heartbeat law. Careful they may put a hex/spell on you nitwit. LOL.

          3. Hey nitwit I don’t know any women that want an abortion. I’ll bet you don’t either. Unlike you I am already wealthy. BTW – You do know the Taliban are your buddies. They believe in global warming and raping 12 year old girls.

          1. No one talked about incest and rape except you Alberto et al. Obviously you like participating in incest and rape so that’s why you disagree with laws against abortion. You’re nothing but a baby killer.

          2. You feel left out char liar? Or you got kicked out of the trailer park again for not paying the $45 dollars a month?

    1. Looks like it’s your idiocy that is boundless uxcrement. Mincing words does not bring you any efficacy of logic. Get some English lessons next time you’re in prison. Which won’t be long.

    1. Notice how all these so-called ‘christians’ supported someone who was a liar, theif, racist, rapist, con man, traitor, crooked businessman, and oppressor of the poor for president. Being a Christian is like belonging to a hate group.

    1. There won’t be any violence. Suing murderers doesn’t require violence. Besides it’s ALWAYS the radical leftist who use violence as a form of protest.

  3. Apparently the meaning of Christianity as a belief in Christ is no longer valid. People nowadays call themselves Christians even if they are mean, bigoted, racially prejudiced and intolerant of those who don’t share their beliefs.

    1. Well you are mean, bigoted, racially prejudiced and intolerant of those who don’t share your beliefs. What is your excuse if you are a devil worshipper?

    1. You ever hear of confession nitwit? All I’ll have to do is say 10 Lord’s Prayers and 20 Hail Marys to be forgiven. You’re damned forever blasphemer. We know you are a LGBTQP. The P stands for pervert.

  4. More good news for the libtards here. Governor Abbott will sign the new Texas voting integrity law tomorrow. More libtard heads exploding. Hollywood is already in a total meltdown. Voting, babies and guns are safe in Texas.

    1. Much to do about nothing. Just liberal knee jerk reaction as usual. The majority of abortions are done well below 6 weeks nitwit. Only because they were too cheap to get a morning after pill and use it in a timely manner. If you liberals really cared about children then you should be criticizing senile Joe for killing children during that drone strike. You all are nothing but baby killers.

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