DOJ Sues Pro-Life Activists For Blocking Planned Parenthood Clinic

President Joe Biden’s Department of Justice (DOJ) has initiated a lawsuit against five pro-life activists for allegedly attempting to obstruct abortions at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Fort Myers, Florida. The DOJ asserts that the defendants violated the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act during their protest in 2022.

The activists named in the lawsuit are Calvin Zastrow, Kenneth Scott, Chester Gallagher, Eva Zastrow, and Katelyn Sims. According to the DOJ, these individuals trespassed on the property of the Fort Myers Health Center, which houses a Planned Parenthood clinic, and blocked its entrances, thereby halting the clinic’s operations temporarily.

Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division explained the charges in a press release: “These five defendants deliberately obstructed access to reproductive health services. Physically blocking those seeking or providing reproductive health services in order to impose their views is unlawful. The Justice Department will continue enforcing the FACE Act to protect against such obstruction.”

The lawsuit details how the activists allegedly yelled at a Planned Parenthood employee, accusing her of killing babies. Despite police warnings, the group reportedly sat in front of the clinic’s entrance, attempting to prevent abortions from taking place. Even as a patient arrived, the activists tried to block access, but clinic employees managed to ensure the patient could enter.

This lawsuit is part of a broader pattern of the Biden administration’s DOJ targeting pro-life activists for FACE Act violations. The FACE Act, established in 1994, aims to prevent the use of force, threat of force, or physical obstruction to impede individuals from obtaining or providing reproductive health services.

Critics of the lawsuit argue that the Biden administration is using the DOJ to suppress pro-life activism and infringe on free speech rights. However, supporters maintain that strict enforcement of the FACE Act is necessary to safeguard access to legal reproductive health services and protect both patients and healthcare providers.

The legal proceedings will spotlight the ongoing conflict between pro-life advocates and supporters of reproductive rights. The outcome of this case could set a precedent for how similar protests are handled in the future, potentially influencing the enforcement of the FACE Act and the rights of activists engaging in demonstrations.