A former Department of Justice’s Civil Rights division lawyer who served under former Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama told the Daily Caller that the Biden DOJ is “weaponizing” the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act in order to arrest and charge pro-life activists unfairly.
“The left is out for blood, and Biden’s base is demanding prosecutions and the DOJ is providing them,” Roger Severino said.
Severino served in the same division that enforced the FACE Act, but in previous administrations non-violent violators of the law got fines and restraining orders. Under the Biden DOJ, some are being charged with the maximum 11 years in jail for minor offenses.
A total of 16 pro-life activists have been charged so far. One, Mark Houck, who was accused of pushing a clinic escort after a verbal confrontation, was taken at gunpoint by the FBI months after those charges were dropped.
The usual maximum for first-time offenders of the FACE Act, which says that no one can “obstruct” anyone from getting an abortion, is six months.
Previous administrations have only pursued jail time in the case of a fatal shooting, death threats, and a Molotov cocktail thrown at a clinic.
“It’s outrageous that you would take a six-month misdemeanor … and turn it into a 10-year federal felony,” Houck’s attorney Peter Breen said.
Breen also said that the maximum charge was being applied because the clinic escort “scraped his arm” when Houck pushed him. “The charges shouldn’t apply at all, but even if they did, he’s being overcharged,” Breen argued.
Twisting the law
According to Breen, one of the others charged with 11 years for violating FACE never blocked the entrance to the clinic, but was only standing nearby.
Video of the FBI’s arrest of Paul Vaughn of Centerville, Tennessee. DOJ charged him with “conspiracy against rights secured by the FACE Act, and committing FACE Act violations” for blocking the entrance to an abortion clinic. Paul tells me the footage was taken by his wife. pic.twitter.com/KSDvLRSrlF
— Mary Margaret Olohan (@MaryMargOlohan) October 7, 2022
Breen said he had “never heard of a charge being so excessive.” Not only do those charged face 11 years in jail, but they also may be subject to a $350,000 fine.
The Biden administration is twisting the law, which was intended to prevent the activists from completely stopping people from going into abortion clinics, and using it to persecute people for lawfully protesting an activity they believe is morally wrong.
It’s not surprising, but it should be stopped.